Best Space Pictures of the Week: Flying Saucer, Mars's "Heart"
NASA reveals a flying saucer, a heart is spotted on Mars, and the Milky Way gleams in this week's best space pictures.
Aliens haven't landed—the flying saucer seen in this April 9 picture belongs to NASA, not invaders from Mars.
In fact, the saucer is planned for an earthly invasion of Mars. The rocket-powered test vehicle belongs to the space agency's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, an effort to test better supersonic parachutes and high-altitude landing brakes for future Mars explorers.
On display this week at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, the device will be fired from Hawaii this summer, almost into space, to undertake a series of tests aimed at safely delivering heavier cargoes, and astronauts, to the red planet someday.
High-flying winds on Mars lead to twin-toned dunes, seen in this Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image released on April 9.