Planetary Radio • Mar 24, 2021

The Perseverance Rover and a Great First Month on Mars

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On This Episode

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Katie Stack Morgan

Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance Deputy Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Lab

Kenneth williford

Kenneth Williford

Perseverance Deputy Project Scientist and Director of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Astrobiogeochemistry Lab

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

Deputy project scientists Katie Stack Morgan and Ken Williford are living on Mars time and living for Mars. We get an update from them on the work of the Mars 2020 rover. Perseverance is already accomplishing terrific science after just 5 weeks on the Red Planet. Katie and Ken also tell us what’s ahead, including launch of Mars helicopter Ingenuity. Then it’s checkmate as Bruce Betts makes his next move across the night sky in What’s Up.

Perseverance Tracks and Rocket Scour
Perseverance Tracks and Rocket Scour Taken on 5 March 2021, this color-calibrated image from a Navigation Camera aboard NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover shows tracks from the rover's first drive (darker marks in the foreground) and an area scoured by the Mars 2020 mission's descent stage rockets (lighter-colored area in the middle ground).Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Perseverance First Mastcam-Z Panorama
Perseverance First Mastcam-Z Panorama This first panorama of the Martian surface by NASA's Perseverance rover consists of 142 images captured by the spacecraft's Mastcam-Z science instrument on 21 February 2021.Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/Edited by The Planetary Society
Perseverance's First Drive
Perseverance's First Drive NASA's Perseverance rover captured this image of its wheel tracks in the Martian soil following its first drive in March 2021.Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes:

A copy of Spacefarers: How Humans will Settle the Moon, Mars and Beyond by Christopher Wanjek

This week's question:

What part of the International Space Station is named after a chess piece?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, March 31st at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What was the Hayabusa2’s Small Carry-on Impactor’s (SCI’s) projectile made of?


The winner will be revealed next week.

Question from the 10 March 2021 space trivia contest:

What was the original official name of the Mars InSight mission?


The original official name of the Mars InSight mission was GEMS: GEophysical Monitoring Station.