SUMMARY: One of the most innovative aspects of the Mars Pathfinder and Exploration Rover missions were the durable airbags which helped the spacecraft survive a hard landing on the surface of Mars. Instead of having to slow their descent from parachute speed, they could carry much less fuel... and bounce. But developing the airbags was a significant engineering challenge. How to create a fabric that could survive a long fall, across sharp rocks, which wouldn't clog up the lander when it deflated. Engineer Tommaso Rivellini explains the journey to create the airbag system which became so successful.

View full article
What do you think about this story? post your comments below.