21 August 2012
21 August 2012
After a 100 million km journey, NASA’s Curiosity Rover arrived safely at its final destination: Mars.
Teijin explains that once the Curiosity Rover had entered Mars’s atmosphere, it slowed down – aided by its enormous parachute and Teijin’s fibres – from a speed of 1450 km per hour to 290 km per hour- in less than two minutes.
NASA says its Curiosity Rover landed safely on the surface of Mars with the help of the largest supersonic parachute ever made. The parachute weighs 60 kilos, has a diameter of some 15 metres and is as high as a 16-storey building.
According to NASA’s calculations, the parachute cords had to withstand a force of 9Gs during the landing – that is about 27,000 kilos. Teijin says that although the parachute has been tested to withstand almost 37,000 kilos of force, the 80 Technora cords actually have a combined breaking strength of almost double that: 72,500 kilos.
The Technora para-aramid fibre is manufactured in Japan by Teijin and it says the landing of Curiosity Rover on Mars is certainly one of the most demanding applications of a super fibre that has ever taken place.
Technora is a para-aramid fibre fabricated from copolymers. Teijin explains it is eight times stronger than steel, combined with a great degree of dimensional stability and excellent resistance against extreme heat. These properties convinced engineers at NASA to choose the Technora cords for the supersonic parachute.