This month on GOOD.is, we are focusing on the topic of exploration—embracing the spirit of discovery and exploring areas near and far. We will be posting on the subject all month at good.is/exploration and encourage you to tag your own posts “exploration.”
For our monthly challenge: Join our community effort to discover, share, and protect the places we love. Take this opportunity to expand your horizons and embark on an adventure, whether it’s venturing to a new place that’s close to home or trekking across the planet—no matter what hemisphere you’re in. You know that moment when you pull out your phone and snap a photo because you can’t believe how awesome the view is and you want to share it with everyone you know?
The team developing the landing system for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory tested the deployment of an early parachute design in mid-October 2007 inside the world’s largest wind tunnel, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
In this image, two engineers are dwarfed by the parachute, which holds more air than a 280-square-meter (3,000-square-foot) house and is designed to survive loads in excess of 36,000 kilograms (80,000 pounds).
The parachute, built by Pioneer Aerospace, South Windsor, Connecticut, has 80 suspension lines, measures more than 50 meters (165 feet) in length, and opens to a diameter of nearly 17 meters (55 feet). It is the largest disk-gap-band parachute ever built and is shown here inflated in the test section with only about 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) of clearance to both the floor and ceiling.
The wind tunnel, which is 24 meters (80 feet) tall and 37 meters (120 feet) wide and big enough to house a Boeing 737, is part of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, operated by the U.S. Air Force, Arnold Engineering Development Center.