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Elon Musk has announced that he is giving up on the Red Dragon mission to Mars



Elon Musk has announced that he is giving up on the Red Dragon mission to Mars


We all know who Elon Musk is and what his plans for the future are in terms of space exploration. With the introduction of the Falcon rockets 9 has changed (and is still changing) the strategies of space exploration for the future, having devised a type of rocket propulsion and vertical landing, just like a helicopter. Elon Musk however, he had been planning a codenamed space mission to Mars for some time Red Dragon, and unfortunately the multibillionaire decided to cancel the mission due to a series of problems that occurred during the preparatory phase.

The Red Dragon capsule and the landing problem

Elon Musk confirmed the indiscretion of recent times, namely that the Dragon 2 capsule that was supposed to leave in the mission Red Dragon it would no longer return to Earth, not using the engines SuperDraco which have been specially designed for departure. The choice to cancel the mission became necessary when the engineers of SpaceX they were forced to eliminate the landing legs, which are located outside the rocket’s protective heat shield. The decision to eliminate the legs was derived from the difficulty of obtaining NASA safety certification as it could have affected the surface of the capsule resistant to extreme temperatures during the re-entry phase from space to Earth.

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Eliminating the legs, the thrusters SuperDraco would not have ensured sufficient braking to ensure the safety and comfort of the human crew at the moment of contact with the Earth and Martian ground, a peculiar characteristic instead ofthe falcon 9 rockets used by SpaceX during normal resupply missions to the International Space Station. The engines SuperDraco they could still be reused for other future purposes, although NASA has expressed concerns about the strategy of Musk to use the propulsive reentry technique for manned missions, but that of the splashdown, used up to now by all the other space companies.

Still everything is not decided, there are new plans for Mars

The sudden turnaround of Musk and of SpaceX on the mission Red Dragon involved a quick analysis of possible alternatives so as not to have to completely cancel a mission that had been planned for months. Musk however he said clearly that the mission Red Dragon it is not something to focus on from here in the future, almost completely suspending the design aspects, defining Red Dragon as a mission for which too many resources and time can no longer be devoted. For the moment we can only wait, for a mission to Mars organized by Space X there is still a lot of time.