CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Sci-Tech

Watch NASA test-fire the most powerful rocket booster ever built

NASA's got a new rocket booster with enough power to launch future missions to Mars. This week, the agency tipped it on its side and roasted some Utah desert to prove it works.

15-040.jpg
A successful test-firing of the rocket booster for NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS. NASA

In the coming decades, NASA is planning to lasso an asteroid and eventually launch a manned mission to Mars thanks to the firepower of its new Space Launch System, which is basically the polite name for what would be better called "this kick-ass new monster we built."

While the SLS and its huge solid rocket booster, which NASA calls the most powerful one ever built, aren't scheduled to blast anything into space until 2018, it conducted a successful two-minute horizontal test-firing in Utah on Wednesday. That's the same amount of time the system will fire to lift the SLS toward space, producing 3.6 million pounds of thrust (which, when converted to metric measurements, translates to a whole lot of metric thrust).

The first flight of the SLS will be a test mission to carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. The complete SLS configuration will involve two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines for deep-space missions. That's even more metric thrust (130 metric tons, actually, or 143 tons).

If you've ever wondered how many marshmallows you can roast with a rocket booster, the below video of the test clearly demonstrates that you could singe at least a small valley full, but let's just round up and declare the official answer to be "all of them."