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Anatomy of a Rover—Getting Down to Mars

Curiosity's skycrane maneuver

Air Date: 07/26/2016
Run Time: 36:40

Listen to the full show:

Or Download mp3

Guests:

  • DJ Byrne, Lead Software Designer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Don Heyer, Digital Design Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Raul Perez, Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Topics: Mars 2020, fun, mission status, podcasts and videos, Planetary Radio, Earth, Bill Nye

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It takes a lot of terrific components to create a successful spacecraft like Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory. We’ll visit JPL to learn about the Terminal Descent Sensor radar that will once again help land a rover on the Red Planet. Emily Lakdawalla has tales of science, science fiction and cosplay from ComicCon. Bill Nye has returned from the frigid, icy wastes of Greenland. There a space celebrity cameo performance in this week’s What’s Up segment.

Terminal Descent System mounted on a helicopter for testing

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Terminal Descent System mounted on a helicopter for testing
TDS suspended under helicopter for testing over the California desert

NASA / JPL-Caltech

TDS suspended under helicopter for testing over the California desert
Workbench in a TDS clean room at JPL

Mat Kaplan

Workbench in a TDS clean room at JPL
DJ Byrne, Don Heyer, Raul Perez with a TDS electronics

Mat Kaplan

DJ Byrne, Don Heyer, Raul Perez with a TDS electronics "slice"
TDS electronics on the bench

Mat Kaplan

TDS electronics on the bench
Don Heyer, Raul Perez and DJ Byrne outside the clean room in their street clothes

Mat Kaplan

Don Heyer, Raul Perez and DJ Byrne outside the clean room in their street clothes

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a Planetary Radio t-shirt, a Planetary Society rubber asteroid and a 200-point iTelescope.net astronomy account.

iTelescope.net
iTelescope.net

This week's question:

What is the highest award given by NASA? It can only be earned by astronauts, the President awards it in Congress’ name, and does so on the recommendation of NASA.

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at http://planetary.org/radiocontest or write to us at planetaryradio@planetary.org no later than Tuesday, August 2nd at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

If you landed at the same latitude and longitude on Earth as Apollo 11 did on the moon, what country would you be in?

Answer:

The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What instrument on Juno sounds most like something from a Star Wars movie?

Answer:

The Jupiter Energetic-particle Detector Instrument or JEDI is the Juno instrument most likely to be from a galaxy far, far away.

Comments:

No trivia contest spoilers please!

Peter Sinclair: 07/26/2016 05:12 CDT

Thanks for letting us record that greeting! We had a great time visiting.

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