Seven minutes of death when landing a rover on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA’s rover will arrive on Mars in a few months. He has to go through the “seven minutes of death”, on which the success of the entire mission depends. And Japan will help with this. When landing, the rover will use the so-called Japanese “lines of life”, which are eight times stronger than metal.

NASA’s Perseverance rover will arrive on Mars next February. He will have to enter the atmosphere of Mars at great speed and quickly decelerate. The rover will have only seven minutes to land. To survive the tough landing time, which is even called “seven minutes of death”, the device should be helped by strong Japanese fiber.

Teijin Teijin Teijin Technora fiber landing parachute slings

The atmosphere of Mars is highly discharged – only 0.6% of the earth’s. The parachute with a diameter of 21 meters, which will open four minutes after entering the atmosphere, should, in just two minutes, reduce the speed of the vehicle from 1,500 kilometers to 320 kilometers per hour.

The 80 lines connecting the apparatus weighing approximately one ton to the canopy of the parachute will be under enormous stress. If they break off, the rover will crash into the planet’s surface, and the mission ends there.

These “life slings” are made from Teijin Teijin Teknor fiber. It is eight times stronger than metal and can easily withstand multiple strains.

The American parachute manufacturer, commissioned by NASA, was impressed by the amazing performance of this Japanese product. During the tests, the slings withstood a load of 37 tons, thereby confirming the stated specifications.

16 year journey to the ideal

Teknor fiber went on sale in 1987. “More than 30 years have passed since then, and this fiber has been used in various projects. I think my senior colleagues are very pleased with this fact, ”notes Nobuhisa Yamaguchi, manager of the Aramid Textile Technology Development Department at Teijin. Increasing the strength was not easy, he said. It took 16 years to develop.

Teknora is a type of fiber called para-aramid. A number of special elongated molecules in which chemical structures like rings are repeatedly linked are combined into bundles. If all the molecules are lined up in parallel, the strength in the direction of extension increases significantly.

To achieve parallelism, you need to pull and stretch the fiber, however, if the time, force, temperature and other conditions do not match, the perfect fiber will not work.

At the initial stage, the arrangement of the molecules was scattered, so the fiber was unstable and not very strong. It took more than ten years to check all the conditions and factors. Ultimately, scientists came to the conclusion that it is best to lengthen the fiber 8 to 12 times at a temperature of 350 to 550 degrees.

As a result of this highly complex process, the fibers acquire a beautiful golden color. “A very beautiful color, isn’t it?” Yamaguchi says, holding the Teknor.

On July 30 this year, NASA successfully launched the Perseverance rover (3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide) from the Cape Canaveral launch site. The goal of the mission is to find evidence of the existence of life on Mars. The spacecraft has successfully entered the planned orbit.

The rover is due to arrive on Mars in February 2021 and take samples of the planet’s soil. The name of the device means “indomitable spirit”. He will move at a speed of about 200 meters per hour. It is equipped with a manipulator arm for taking samples. The rover is exploring the vicinity of the crater, which is believed to be a lake, and will take soil samples that are planned to be delivered to Earth in 2031. Scientists are investigating the presence of organic substances, without which life is impossible.

In addition, the apparatus is equipped with a device that produces oxygen from carbon dioxide. Thus, new technologies will be tested to send astronauts to Mars in the future.

Comments from Japanese readers


Finally, Japanese developments were released. Hope for success.


Durable fiber technology is one of Japan’s strengths: Toray carbon fiber, Toyobo zylon, and high tenacity polyethylene fiber. Japan has contributed to the impressive Mars landing mission and space industry, and it makes the heart beat faster. Hopefully this will stimulate the Japanese industry.


This material can be used to make carbon fiber and mountain climbing slings. I would like to see it applied in all possible areas.


More than 30 years have passed since the time of development, and there is still no replacement, that’s great! It seems to me that Japan is full of excellent technologies that have not yet found commercial use. It is necessary to actively disseminate information.


This material went on sale over 30 years ago. Probably, the company discussed this problem – why invest money is not clear in what. Now, when everyone is chasing short-term profits, it is difficult for managers to make decisions about promising developments.


This, of course, everything is fine, but NASA has already landed a probe on Mars with a parachute. What has changed now? I should have written about it.


Great! The fiber reflects the latest technology. I wonder if the day will come when humanity will cross the space-time continuum and teleport between the planets … If so, who will invent this? Dreams have no boundaries.


If it took 16 years to develop, then the project started in 1971? At that time in Japan they could still create something. In that era, Japan shone on the world stage.


Is it worth revealing details such as temperature and stretch? It seems to me that you cannot give technological information.

Jun Nihonsei

Teijin products have already been used successfully before landing on Mars. It is necessary to write articles more clearly.


When you see such excellent technologies, you understand that all is not lost for Japan.

\ (^ o ^) \

The question is whether all the characteristics of the material will be preserved after a long flight, which lasts about six months, and harsh space conditions.


Explained in detail, foreign industrial spies will steal technology. Therefore, the article needs to lie a little.


Could it be used to strengthen parent-child bonds that have weakened lately?


It is very touching that when the material is ready, it takes on a golden color.


Try not to steal technology that took 16 years to develop.


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