NASA to Test Mars ‘Flying Saucer’ Vehicle on Earth

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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 the Hawaiian island of 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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