The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is looking to once again launch a test session for a "flying saucer" that can be utilized to land in Mars.
The test session, which NASA is planning for Saturday, has been delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions in the form of high winds.
NASA will be testing the disc-shaped vehicle, named the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, along with its accompanying giant parachute, off the coast of Kauai, an island in Hawaii.
The parachute that will be tested will have the same design as the one that has been used by NASA since the 1970s in slowing down the descent of rovers and landers into the thin atmosphere of Mars. As NASA plans to send spacecraft that are much heavier than the previously used rovers and landers, the need for a much sturdier parachute becomes a necessity, especially once NASA begins sending up astronauts inside the spacecraft.
NASA is planning to test the disc-shaped vehicle and parachute at a high point in the atmosphere of the Earth because the conditions there are just like what can be found in the atmosphere of Mars.
In the test, NASA will be using cameras mounted onto the spacecraft to determine its acceleration and deceleration once it descends back to Earth. The compiled data will allow scientists to determine how the vehicle will react once it goes through the same descent in a similar Martian atmosphere.
However, the initially planned test for the first week of June was cancelled after bad weather.
"Due to weather conditions, there will be no launch of the LDSD test vehicle Tuesday, June 3. Other potential launch dates include June 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14. Launch decision for Thursday, June 5 will be made on Wednesday, June 4," NASA said in an update.
NASA is looking to test more flights within the year and over to next year, as it aims to develop the best possible spacecraft to launch more research tools to Mars.
NASA will be utilizing a huge balloon that can hold up to about 34 million cubic feet of helium to carry the spacecraft to a height of 120,000 feet. Once detached, the vehicle will fall with speeds of up to Mach 4. Once the spacecraft reaches its fastest descent speed, it will deploy inflatable decelerators that will look to slow it down into a suitable but still supersonic speed. Once this speed is achieved, its parachute will be released in an attempt to decrease its speed even further.
The spacecraft is expected to hit the surface of the Pacific Ocean safely, where designated recovery boats will retrieve it so that scientists can collect data from the testing session.