Ever wonder why alien spacecraft sightings are almost always flying saucers? There actually is some logic here. Not to give the sightings validity, only the science behind them. Consider that NASA has to develop fully their plan to land on Mars then consider that the atmosphere of Mars is much thinner than Earths. What Changes need to be made?
Granted many rovers have landed on Mars, but special designs had to be made as these vehicular robots needed to drop in speed and there isn't enough atmospheric friction when traveling at the high speeds attained to then allow a safe landing.
Perhaps the coolest landing was achieved by Curiosity which employed the rover suspension system for its final set-down. Curiosity was lowered via a tether from a “sky crane” system and activating cable cutters to then free itself from the spacecraft descent stage.
Mars Pathfinder used airbags that formed around it and allowed it to bounce to safety. It first entered the Mars atmosphere using a system that involved a special entry capsule, a supersonic parachute and solid rockets and then it employed the airbags. It actually was extremely difficult as the airbags had to be deployed at the exact moment before landing and then deflate immediately once it had landed safely.
But these are rovers – complex technology but unmanned none the less. How then does a manned vehicle land? Sure there are movies where they employ the same airbag system. (Although there was that one movie that used it!) AND besides, a rover is at most the size of a car, but a manned space vehicle that has traveled all that way will probably either be larger and heavier.
So back to how to slow down and land in one piece. NASA has a plan. This plan gets back to the why of the shape pf a flying saucer. NASA is developing lightweight inflatable flying saucers that fit around the outer rims of the human’s spacecraft. This technological addition will allow the astronauts to land their heavier, somewhat larger spacecraft on Mars while also eliminating the heat shields or have to expend large amounts of fuel using propulsion while braking. These flying saucers, called Low Density Supersonic Decelerators, will enable landings by expanding the spacecraft’s size while the mass remains the same. This method could be utilized for landings on countless other planets as well.
Granted the flying saucers are not the entire plan. It also involves a large supersonic parachute. Remember an earlier writing on NASA’s awesome rocketsled? The sled will be employed in the further testing of this unique landing method.
OKAY, so back to flying saucers. Get the correlation? Not that the supposed visitors employ the use of blown up flying saucers, but the selection of the shape round and flat expands the surface area hence making the vehicle good for the atmosphere on 90-95% of the planets. Of course for Earth they might need heat shields.