A flow of extremely heated air exits the 21”-diameter nozzle from the left, causing a bow shock to form in front of the test article. The bluish-hue streaks, streaming away from the test article, are due to decomposition of the resin-infused protective layers that prevent degradation of the stitched fabric joints.
As NASA missions to Mars progress, spacecraft will require larger heat shields to protect against the extreme heat of entering a planet's atmosphere and decelerating at a safe altitude in the thin Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) is a mechanically deployable heat shield concept using carbon fabric: a flexible heat shield that expands to open like an umbrella.

NASA completed heating simulation testing of an ADEPT model under conditions akin to entering the Martian atmosphere. Extensive instrumentation and imaging products from the test will be used to validate how materials respond to the testing conditions. The testing approach will enable future, more extensive testing of the ADEPT configuration.