The wind tunnel of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa is testing a variant of a subsonic parachute for future landings on Mars. The Red Planet has a thin atmospheric layer that interferes, but at the same time helps the developers of the Martian missions.
Heat shields should be used to protect any spacecraft sinking into the atmosphere, and parachutes can slow down and stabilize the descent process. Up to this point, single parachutes were used for flights to Mars, but now they are developing a double version that will be able to deliver more payloads to the surface with improved trajectory control. In the new model, a smaller supersonic parachute for initial braking will be complemented by a large subsonic parachute for the descent phase. The development was undertaken by the British company Vorticity Systems, which tested a number of subsonic parachutes for future missions on Mars. For testing used a drone, a helicopter and balloons at low and high altitudes. We also needed a Canadian wind tunnel (9 x 9 m) and a smaller version (2 x 3 m). Do not forget to take into account the high accuracy of software simulations.
In one test, they even filled the air around the parachute with tiny droplets of olive oil. They were scanned with a laser to better observe the flow. Engineers now have a wealth of information to help them better understand the behavior and characteristics of various types of parachutes. Future parachutes will be useful for landing on Mars, Venus, Neptune and Uranus.