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Planetary RadioApril 25, 2018

Planetary Radio Live! – Celebrating Curiosity on Mars

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On This Episode
Emily Lakdawalla 2017 headshot square serene
Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist, The Planetary Society

Ashwin Vasavada head shot
Ashwin Vasavada

Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Abigail Fraeman head shot
Abigail Fraeman

Mars Exploration Rover Deputy Project Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Bruce Betts Head Shot 2015
Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager, The Planetary Society

Mat Kaplan
Mat Kaplan

Planetary Radio Host and Producer, The Planetary Society

Join us for an utterly fascinating live conversation with Emily Lakdawalla about her brand new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job. Also joining us at Caltech were Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada and JPL Research Scientist Abigail Fraeman. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan close out the evening with a live edition of What’s Up, including the space trivia contest.

Emily Lakdawalla's book signing event

Richard Chute

Emily Lakdawalla's book signing event
Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan was joined by colleague and Planetary Evangelist Emily Lakdawalla at Caltech to talk about her new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity. Also joining the conversation were Curiosity team members Ashwin Vasavada and Abigail Fraeman.
The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs its Job

Springer Praxis Publishing

The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs its Job
Author: Emily Lakdawalla
Curiosity self-portrait atop Vera Rubin Ridge, sol 1943


Curiosity self-portrait atop Vera Rubin Ridge, sol 1943
Curiosity took this photo on January 23, 2018 from the southern side of the Vera Rubin Ridge, a topographic feature visible from orbit that separates the Bagnold Dunes from the taller part of Mount Sharp. From this vantage point, all the terrain that Curiosity has traversed is visible. It's also possible to see down into the valley beyond the ridge. Mount Sharp rises behind the rover's mast.

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Trivia Contest

A Planetary Radio t-shirt and a 200-point astronomy account.

This week's question:

According to a NASA press kit, what does Mount Sharp, the mountain Curiosity is exploring, look like from orbit?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Wednesday, May 2nd at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

In Greek mythology, who were Andromeda’s mother and father? All three are constellations.


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What was the first nebula observed that was tied to a supernova seen by humans?


The Crab Nebula was the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion. Yes, it seems there was an earlier supernova observed by Chinese astronomers, but its nebula was identified long after the Crab Nebula.

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