Nasa warns a pressure test the space agency plans to conduct Saturday in Houston could generate a loud, audible boom that sounds like an explosion.
Engineers at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center will test an inflatable lunar habitat prototype until the point it bursts Saturday morning, according to a Nasa media release, with the boom possibly coming around 11am CDT.
“The noise may be alarming for folks but, rest assured, it is a normal outcome of the test we are doing,” senior software engineer and test director Matthew Green said in a statement. “The more people who are aware the test is taking place, the more people we can make feel comfortable and bring awareness to the important research we are doing.”
The test will begin around 8am and the boom could come anytime from around 11am to 12pm CDT, but Nasa will complete the test by the afternoon.
Pressure testing will given Nasa engineers crucial information about materials, geometry and performance of the potential lunar habitat at pressure extremes.
“Since the future habitat being tested eventually may find its way to the Moon’s surface and need to function in that extreme environment, it is critical to understand how much internal pressure it can withstand,” the media release notes.