With the possibilities of future missions to Mars and beyond, scientists are finding new ways to make it safer for larger vehicles to safely pass the atmosphere of more distant locations. Our Adaptable, Deployable, Entry and Placement Technology, or ADEPT, is testing a next-generation heat shield design for delivering jumbo-size cargo to planetary surfaces.
Meet: Spiderweave. The new 3D-woven carbon fabric can open up like an umbrella and withstand temperatures greater than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,650°C). Spiderweave uses a new design architecture where materials are continuously woven into the heat shield’s fabric, avoiding issues like points of increased stress and other rifts within the material. Where saving space and enabling safer atmospheric entries are top priorities, Spiderweave can be packed up at launch and stored in a compact space when sending science to other worlds.
In this image, the ADEPT Spiderweave material is put to the test in the arc jet facilities at @ NASAAmes, which simulates the intense heating spacecraft experience during atmospheric entry.
Credit: NASA/Patrick Viruel