We're building LDSD, NASA's bigger and better landing system for Mars. Ask us anything!
Before we can send bigger payloads to Mars (read: humans), we have to build a bigger, better landing system. The one-ton Curiosity rover was the heaviest that could land on Mars with the 2012 system.
Right now at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, we're working on NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) -- a Mars landing system for much larger future missions, including human missions to the Red Planet. We want to answer your questions about the technologies involved and the massive challenges they're designed to overcome.
In June 2014, we tested our LDSD device 180,000 ft above the Hawaiian Islands (that altitude is a good stand-in for the thin Martian atmosphere). We used GoPros and other cameras to document that test. In June 2015, we're headed back for test No. 2, and we'll invite you to watch live on http://ustream.tv/NASAJPL2
Ian Clark, LDSD Principal Investigator, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mark Adler, LDSD Project Manager, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
@NASAJPL media relations
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. PDT May 12, 2015: Thanks so much for having us, Reddit! We're signing off for now, but will check back over the next couple of days to answer more questions, schedule allowing. Thanks for your interest in LDSD, and we hope you'll be watching in June when we go back to Hawaii for our next atmospheric test. We'll share it live on http://ustream.tv/NASAJPL2 . Until then, you can find out more about the mission by following @NASA, @NASAJPL and @NASA_technology on Twitter and by the hashtag #LDSD.