This June 2, 2015 NASA artist's concept shows the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator(LDSD), designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions. AFP PHOTO/NASA/JPL-CALTECH
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NASA launched a giant balloon Monday carrying a kind of "flying saucer" that will test technologies for landing on Mars.During the first test in June 2014, the parachute shredded to pieces on the way down.With the goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s, the agency is now testing a more advanced, new generation of parachute technology, known as the Supersonic Ringsail Parachute.The test vehicle -- the "flying saucer" -- weighs 6,808 pounds (3,088 kilograms), or about twice the weight of the kind of robotic rover spacecraft NASA is currently capable of landing safely on Mars.
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