How LOFTID could help future astronauts land on Mars: https://t.co/eDRGA9TbKf pic.twitter.com/1y9Tf34KtJ
— NASA (@NASA) November 10, 2022
This technology may prove important because of the dangers of entering the atmosphere of a planet that has different conditions from Earth. The atmosphere of Mars, for example, is much thinner than Earth’s and the descent of NASA’s Perseverance rover into its atmosphere was famously described as “seven minutes of terror”.
LOFTID technology could help firefighters on Earth
NASA’s six-metre-diameter (20 ft) LOFTID aeroshell acts largely as a brake system, creating much more atmospheric drag than conventional, much smaller aeroshells. NASA states on its website that the technology was built to withstand atmospheric re-entry temperatures in excess of 2900°F (1600°C).
The space agency says the heatshield has “three layers: an outer ceramic fiber fabric layer to maintain surface integrity, a middle layer of insulator to impede heat transmission, and an inner layer that traps the hot gas inside the inflatable.” prevents access to the structure. The flexible thermal protection system is also foldable, packable, deployable and tailable.”
LOFTID is just one of many examples of technologies built for space that could also have incredibly important practical applications here on Earth. The heat shielding material developed for LOFTID has, in fact, already been used to make a prototype heat shelter to help combat wildfires. NASA has worked with the US Forest Service’s Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) to develop more effective fire shelters to save lives, meaning their heat-resistant material could save humans in space and on Earth .