Earlier this year, after tests were delayed because of poor atmospheric conditions, NASA finally managed to launch the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator— more commonly known as the agency's "flying saucer"—on June 28. And just a few days ago, NASA released a quick explainer video showing the results.
As you can see in the video above, some parts of the test went really well. Others did not—the parachute that was supposed to help decelerate the craft was reduced to shreds soon after it was deployed.
As the Verge reports, the test was still considered a success. More tests of the system are planned for next June in Hawaii.
The LDSD is designed to help lower heavy payloads to the surface of Mars, including, one day, human spacecraft. It is being tested and developed at the same time as other technologies, like the Orion capsule, which could eventually transport astronauts on long-distance missions to Mars.
The Orion spacecraft is expected to fly its first test flight in December of this year, but right now, you can learn more about the next generation of spacecraft with an Orion A to Z project that explains components of the new system letter by letter.