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Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Jim Bell Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Mars 2020 mission, the Perseverance Rover and instruments, studying Mars, rover sterilization and why, special instrument features, EDL and more.
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John Batchelor and I welcomed Dr. Jim Bell to the program to discuss the upcoming Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance Rover. This was a two segment Hotel Mars program. For the fist segment, we talked about the size and mass of Perseverance compared to Curiosity and what this meant for the Perseverance EDL. Jim also expressed concern for the team due to complications from Covid-19. Jim, as the PI for the MASTCAM-Z 3 D zoom cameras, talked extensively about this new camera system and how it differed from the camera on Curiosity. Also discussed was how the lenses were protect from dust and other environment risks. Before this segment ended, I asked if Perseverance had been sterilized. Jim said yes and to a much higher standard than normal. Listen to his explanation for the new, high standard.
In the second segment, Jim was asked why Jezero Crater was selected as the landing site. Our guest had much to say about this site, the fact that it was a delta and that study results would likely be applicable to a large section of Mars. Part of the reason for this was the volcanic rocks they expected to find at this location. Before we ended our discussion, we talked about the Ingenuity helicopter. Jim said this was a demo mission with a short lifespan to demonstrate powered flight on Mars for the first time. No doubt this will be an exciting part of the mission even though it is expected to be short lived. Throughout the program we talked about additional instruments and missions for Perseverance.
Please post your comments/questions on our blog. John Batchelor and Jim Bell can be reached through me at The Space Show. Jim can also be reached at his Arizona State University faculty page or his persona website referenced in his bio.