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NASA to test Mars ‘flying saucer’ vehicle on Kauai

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSIn this undated image provided by NASA a saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this undated image provided by NASA a saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai

LOS ANGELES >> A NASA flying saucer designed to test Mars lander technology could be launched on Earth this weekend.

The space agency says Saturday marks the opening of a launch window for the disc. If the weather cooperates, a balloon will carry it from a Navy range on Kauai. The disc will be released, then rocket high into the atmosphere and return using a giant parachute.

The same parachute design could slow landers and rovers streaking through the thin Martian atmosphere.

High winds at the range forced authorities to miss the original two-week launch window for the experiment earlier this month.

The new potential launch dates are Saturday through July 1 and July 3.

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