A spacecraft is using the Martian atmosphere to get closer to the planet

Popular Science | 2/2/2018 | Staff
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Whether screeching to a halt or gently lowering your speed, slowing down can be hard on Earth. But when braking in a vacuum you need to get creative. That’s why spacecraft like NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the European Space Agency’s Venus Express use the atmospheres of planets they’re studying as an external brake, slowing down and edging closer to their target orbit over the course of months.

The process is called aerobraking, and right now the ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is going through its last few weeks of the process, after nearly a year of dipping its solar panels and body into the atmosphere of Mars to slow it down and lower it into an orbit closer to the planet’s surface.

Hands - Snow

It’s like sticking your hands in the snow to slow yourself down as you speed...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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