what is a supersonic parachute?


what makes a parachute supersonic and why was it used by Perseverance rover?

In: Physics

Studied mechanical engineering, not practicing it though. It’s probably a parachute designed to handle sonic transition. Supersonic flow and subsonic flow are drastically different. Subsonic flow can be treated as incompressible(I highly doubt they assumed incompressible flow though). Supersonic flow on the other hand has to be handled as a compressible fluid flow (talking about gasses). Though there are differences between the two flow types, a critical design factor is the transition. While transitioning from sonic to subsonic or subsonic to sonic, the parachute will experience sonic boom (correct me if I’m wrong everyone). So it is a parachute designed to handle different flow characteristics of supersonic flow and the transition. I hope this helps.

It’s a parachute that is optimized to deal with supersonic flow.

It was used on the rover because Mars has almost no atmosphere. The air is so thin there that you can’t decelerate to below the speed of sound using a heat shield. This means opening the chute at high speed in a low pressure gas. A very cleaver bit of engineering.