Ashwing Vasavada from NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and a CALTECH / UCLA star, has been involved with the Mars Rover Curiosity for over eight years now and has virtually spent that time living on Mars through the Curiosity mission. If anyone knows the conditions on Mars, then it is Ashwin and in this episode he discusses in detail, the history of NASA’s space missions as well as how they were conceptualized, designed and deployed. He also gives a first hand account on the various missions like Viking, Voyager, Hope & Spirit, Perseverance and talks about NASA’s Mars 2020 missions and what could be expected moving forward.
As the lead scientist for the Curiosity Rover Mission he explains the planning and technology that went into building the rover. He covers interesting facts like the engineering and design of the rover, its 17 cameras and lasers on board, and how this is used to collect rock samples, the difference between solar panels and nuclear powered rovers, how dust on the surface of Mars impacts these choices, the Chem Cam and how it was used, how and why airbags were used for the Hope & Spirit landings and many more details on the project. Ashwin also tackles broader areas like the possibility of life on the surface of Mars or below the surface as per latest available scientific data from those missions.
This is a comprehensive discussion on all NASA missions and a lot of details mentioned in this episode have never been heard before or available online. This is an opportunity to have all your questions answered and give you a better understanding of these missions as he breaks down and systematically takes you through all the stages of the Mars missions, also spending time to answer questions posed to him by students online.
This is a historic podcast episode and one you do not want to miss. From all of us at Indian Genes, we do hope you enjoy this exclusive episode and look forward to you also checking out our previous episodes.