NASA completes another splashdown test on Mars-bound Orion spacecraft

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#Mars #NasaNASA completes another splashdown test on Mars-bound Orion spacecraft : NASA today tossed into a pool a mock-up of their Orion spacecraft with two crash-test dummies sitting inside to simulate a return-to-Earth splashdown scenario. The test lasted all of about 10 seconds and is the ninth test of a 10-part water impact series NASA began conducting in April.

For today’s test, Orion was swung like a pendulum to simulate a scenario where one of its parachutes had failed to deploy. After a few seconds of swinging, Orion was dropped into the 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin, an outdoor pool facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

Fast forward to minute 19:20 to watch the test below.

Inside the mock-up were a number of sensors, as well as two test dummies — one representing a 105-pound woman and the other, a 220-pound man. Equipped with spacesuits, both dummies were covered in sensors so engineers could analyze the impact a landing would have on an astronaut’s body.

Orion is the spacecraft that NASA plans to use to send humans to deep-space destinations like asteroids and Mars. Upon returning to Earth, Orion will deploy parachutes to slow its descent into the ocean, similar to the way the Apollo astronauts came home.

But, because Orion is an entirely new spacecraft — kind of like a beefed-up version of the Apollo crew module — NASA needs to conduct these tests to understand how it will behave upon landing under a large range of scenarios.