NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has achieved a remarkable feat as it has come up with an experimental SHIELD lander for its rovers. It’s truly futuristic and will enable its rovers to land successfully on the Martian surface by sustaining the impacts of a hard landing. This is because this SHIELD lander, which is also known as a “Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device”, has been integrated with a “crumple zone” that is meant to protect the rovers from crashing and is designed to reach the inaccessible locations on Mars with high efficiency. It should be noted that a similar approach has been used in cars that helps in protecting the passengers in case of any collision.
Coupled with this, the team went to great lengths to accomplish the milestone and is now putting it into experiments to test the credibility of the system. However, following this approach, scientists will now be able to send their rovers to more challenging locations on Mars and this would consequently help in exploring the unknown details of the planet, thus making the research work more progressive. However, JPL wrote on its website regarding the recent development that “it would use an accordion-like, collapsible base that acts like the crumple zone of a car and absorbs the energy of a hard impact.”
In addition to this, the SHIELD’s project manager Lou Giersch, said in a blog post, “The only hardware that was damaged was some plastic components we weren’t worried about.” Following this, JPL regarded the experiment as a “smashing success” and further stated that the success of this project has unlocked the doors of many possibilities for the scientists as they can now get access to those locations of the Red Planet that were not accessible before. JPL further stated that they can achieve the economical landing on mars through rovers “by simplifying the harrowing entry, descent, and landing process”.
To that end, Giersch further stated, “We think we could go to more treacherous areas, where we wouldn’t want to risk trying to place a billion-dollar rover with our current landing systems. Maybe we could even land several of these at different difficult-to-access locations to build a network.” Similarly, one of the SHIELD team members, named, Velibor ?ormarkovi?, said, “If we can do a hard landing on Mars, we know SHIELD could work on planets or moons with denser atmospheres.”