Lonely Planet Writer

NASA tests new 'flying saucer' in Hawaii for Mars missions

Coral reef, Kauai.
Kauai coast, Hawaii. Image by ruthdaniel3444 / CC BY 2.0

Visitors and residents on Kauai might’ve spotted a flying saucer in the sky on Monday morning, but that was no UFO – it was a test of a new NASA aircraft. NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator lifted off at 7:45am after lengthy delays caused by weather conditions. The aircraft, which is shaped like a flying saucer, was lifted to an elevation of 120,000ft via a balloon. Then the aircraft was supposed to fire rockets and extend a ‘supersonic parachute’ to reach 180,000ft, but the parachute did not inflate as expected. NASA says it is testing the technology to deliver payloads to future Mars missions. Read more: hawaiinewsnow.com