I have a Mars landing simulation, and one of the things it calculates is the dynamic pressure as the spacecraft descends through Mars' thin atmosphere (given by $q=\frac{1}{2}\rho v^{2}$). I know it depends on many different parameters such as the atmospheric model used to find $\rho$ vs. altitude and of course the velocity that you have as you enter Mars, but I was wondering if anyone has any data regarding dynamic pressures experienced by spacecraft entering Mars' atmosphere.

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    $\begingroup$ For the MERs it was around 5 to 5.5 kPa. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


A typical rigid mid L/D aeroshell indicated in Mars exploration architecture encounters a maximum dynamic pressure of 11 kPa.

Rigid Mid L/D aeroshell of Ares V type

While, Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator would encounter a maximum entry dynamic pressure of 4.24 kPa.


Also, for mid L/D aeroshell based entry vehicles of Ares V kind, (Pg. 14)

The aerodynamic model covers Mach 1.3 through 50, angles of attack of 0 through 90o, and dynamic pressures of 1.E-7 through 0.75 bars

I'm not entirely sure if it is reasonable to infer that max dynamic pressures of 0.1 - 0.75 bar are involved.

Entry, Descent and Landing Systems Analysis Study: Phase 1 Report


For MSL (Curiosity), the expected peak dynamic pressure was 15.4 kPa. (table 8)

I don't know how typical of Mars entries that is.


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