July 27th, 2012

Robots: JPL Open House 2012

In today’s show we bring you to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Open House, just in time to prepare for the landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover in less than 10 days.

JPL Open House 2012

Every year, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory opens its doors to over 38,000 visitors. This year’s theme was “Great Journeys”, inviting visitors to share in the wonders of space through high-definition and 3-D videos, live demonstrations, interactions with scientists and engineers and a first look at JPL’s new Earth Science Center.

As we walk you through the JPL mission control center, clean rooms and facilities, we stop to chat with JPL engineers and developers about the many space systems we encounter including the rovers Athlete, Spirit & Opportunity and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This year’s highlight was the Mars Rover Curiosity, scheduled to land on August 5th. Curiosity, which is part of the the Science Laboratory Mission, will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life.

People we had a chance to speak with include Tod Litwin & Megan Richardson (Mars Exploration Booth), Kit Kennedy (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), Mike Watkins (MSL Rover Curiosity) and Dimitri Zarzhitsky (Mobility and Robotic Technologies).

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