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Why It’s HARD To Land on Mars

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This video is about why it’s harder to successfully land spacecraft and landers and rovers on Mars than on Earth, or Venus, or the Moon, or Titan, or asteroids. It all comes down to atmospheric density! When there’s no atmosphere, you can do a powered descent in a flimsy tinfoil spacecraft like the Lunar Module, and when there’s plenty of atmosphere you can do an unpowered descent via heat shield and parachutes like the space shuttle, Apollo command module, Soyuz, Huygens, etc. But on Mars with its thin air, you have to do both powered & unpowered descent, getting the worst of both worlds.

Thanks to Hoppy Price from JPL for fact-checking this video!

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REFERENCES
Spreadsheet to calculate landing success rates: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jqeZCG56UBKvd_wsyW3GD-qd9TAsaW1RPAiZ-1BCUaE/edit?usp=sharing

NASA Low Density Supersonic Decelerator Fact Sheets: https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/737628main_Final_LDSD_Fact_Sheet_3-26-13.pdf
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/press_kits/ldsd.pdf

LDSD Test Footage: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ldsd/videos.html

More LDSD Test Footage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJzeeYoLn50

List of Missions to Mars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_Mars

List of Missions to the Moon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_the_Moon

List of Missions to Saturn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Saturn

List of Missions to Venus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_Venus

Curiosity Rover Landing Overview: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/technology/insituexploration/edl/
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Created by Henry Reich

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