This story is a part Welcome to Marsour series on the study of the Red Planet.

Crash landing on Mars sounds scary, but it’s actually not that bad when you consider that NASA’s current method of getting rovers to the Martian surface is known as the “seven minutes of terror.” The space agency is investigating a new way to land equipment on the Red Planet through a targeted crash.

Of course, this isn’t just any old lander. NASA JPL is testing a design called SHIELD, which stands for Simplified High-Energy Impact Lander. It uses an energy-absorbing cone designed to crumple on impact, just as modern cars do when hit from the front or rear.

On Thursday, JPL shared a video showing SHIELD in action during a drop test from a 90-foot (27-meter) tower. The device makes a hard landing at 110 miles per hour (177 kilometers per hour) on a thick steel plate to simulate the worst conditions that could be encountered when arriving on Mars. Remarkably, the mobile phone stuffed into the prototype survived the trip even without a cracked screen.

A system like SHIELD could be simpler, more affordable, and more flexible than current designs that include parachutes and thrusters to slow down landings. “We think we could go into more treacherous areas where we wouldn’t want to risk trying to land a billion-dollar rover with our current landing systems,” SHIELD project manager Lou Hirsch said in a NASA JPL statement.

If the lander works in Martian conditions, it could potentially be used for other interesting locations in the solar system, including satellites.

SHIELD is still in its early stages, but the initial drop test of the collapsible lander was promising. The team will now begin developing the rest of the lander. Perhaps the seven minutes of terror to arrive at Mars will one day be reduced to “one second of terror” per collision.

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