Planetary Radio • Jul 26, 2016

Anatomy of a Rover—Getting Down to Mars

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On This Episode

DJ Byrne

Lead Software Designer for Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Don Heyer

Digital Design Engineer for Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Raul Perez

Technical Staff for Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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
Terminal Descent System mounted on a helicopter for testing NASA / JPL-Caltech
TDS suspended under helicopter for testing over the California desert
TDS suspended under helicopter for testing over the California desert NASA / JPL-Caltech
Workbench in a TDS clean room at JPL
Workbench in a TDS clean room at JPL Mat Kaplan
DJ Byrne, Don Heyer, Raul Perez with a TDS electronics "slice"
DJ Byrne, Don Heyer, Raul Perez with a TDS electronics "slice" Mat Kaplan
TDS electronics on the bench
TDS electronics on the bench Mat Kaplan
Don Heyer, Raul Perez and DJ Byrne outside the clean room in their street clothes
Don Heyer, Raul Perez and DJ Byrne outside the clean room in their street clothes Mat Kaplan
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 [email protected] 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.