The parachute for the MSL was "designed to survive deployment at Mach 2.2 in the Martian atmosphere, where it will generate up to 65,000 pounds of drag force."

What was the G force the MSL experienced when the parachute was deployed?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your link was broken; I editted it to point to something with the same text, but check that it is what you wanted. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 25 at 12:42

The Wikipedia article on MSL lists the lander mass as 899 kg and the entry system mass as 2401 kg, for a total mass just before entry of 3300 kg. Before parachute deployment several tungsten balance masses with a total mass of 300 kg were ejected (150 kg before entry and 150 kg after primary deceleration and heating were past), decreasing the mass to 3000 kg. A small mass of heat shield thermal protection system (TPS) material ablated during the heat pulse, but that is very small compared to the system mass.

This abstract gives the parachute's peak decelerating force as 153,800 Newtons. Acting on a 3000 kg mass, this produces an acceleration magnitude (actually, deceleration) of 51.27 m/s^2 or 5.23 gees. It was probably slightly higher than this due to the ablative mass loss, but given the large quasi-random variations in the force provided by the parachute the difference would be in the noise.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.