He argued that it was important to understand how soils react to rocket plumes and crater formation for a landing craft. He cited the fact that Mars Curiosity suffered damage to a wire on landing due to soil "shrapnel". He quoted two documents that he thought would shed light and justify his endeavors.
I argued that "of course a rocket will form a crater and what sort of poor engineering leaves a wire exposed and vulnerable to the elements on a $2.6billion non-repairable toy"!
NASA and its contractors have spent more than 10 years studying this "crater" phenomenon at, I am certain, some ridiculous expense. Their proposed "fix" is to send a mission before a mission to "pave" a landing pad. That sounds like a multi-billion dollar unnecessary expense to me. It is far cheaper and simpler to engineer your landing gear and thrusters t