After it shed its back shell and chute, InSight fired its retrorockets
. Szalai kept announcing its altitude as the craft floated down to the surface: 400 metres above Mars, 300 metres, 200 metres.
The European spacecraft Schiaparelli smashed into the planet in 2016 after switching off its retrorockets
too early, scientists believe.
After a few minutes of weightlessness, during which passengers can take in the view through large windows, the capsule gradually falls back to earth with three large parachutes and retrorockets
used to slow the spacecraft.
The capsule fell back to Earth a few minutes later, descending on parachutes and cushioning its own landing with retrorockets
In 2017, he took part as an actor, composer and performer in the science fiction play "D4rkly Your Retrorockets
Fl4re" in New York.
For example, NASA's methods rely on parachutes, airbags, and small retrorockets
, but this would not cut the mustard for heavy, crewed missions to Mars, which will involve payloads roughly 20 times what Curiosity's descent technology can handle.
Figure 1 shows a scenario for returning a sample from Mercury using a single E-sail in the following way: (1) the E-sail flies to Mercury and settles to orbit the planet; (2) a lander separates and lands on the surface by retrorockets
; (3) the lander picks up a sample and puts it in a small capsule which is mounted on a small return rocket that was part of the lander payload; (4) the return rocket lifts off to Mercury's orbit where it jettisons the capsule which also contains a radio beacon; (5) the E-sail mother spacecraft locates the beacon signal and adjusts its orbit to rendezvous with the sample capsule.
A thinner Martian atmosphere means designing a parachute system that will operate at such a low pressure or allowing more weight for retrorockets
to slow the capsule.
After Carpenter fired the retrorockets
to power his return, NASA controllers lost radio contact and feared a tragedy.
An entry system may include a heat shield, parachute and retrorockets
, all with the sole purpose of slowing ourselves down from thousands of miles per hour to less than 1mph in a controlled and safe fashion.