August 18, 2009
PASADENA, Calif. -- Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will explain why previous methods of landing on Mars would not work for the next Mars rover and will describe how engineers developed a new sky-crane system for this mission, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory.
Tom Rivellini of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, will present illustrated talks about Mars landing methods on Thursday, Aug. 20, at JPL, with a live webcast, and on Friday, Aug. 21, at Pasadena City College. Both lectures will begin at 7 p.m. PDT.
Rivellini is one of JPL's principal mechanical engineers for spacecraft descent and landing systems.
In 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory mission's rover, Curiosity, will use a heat shield and parachute for initial phases of its descent through the Martian atmosphere. Then a rocket-powered descent stage will slow almost to a hover and unspool a tether, lowering the rover directly onto the surface.
Seating is first-come, first-served. The Thursday lecture will be in JPL's von Kármán Auditorium. JPL is at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. The Friday lecture will be in Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. For more information, call (818) 354-0112.
For information on how to view the live webcast on Thursday and to see an archived video later, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures.cfm?year=2009&month=8 . More information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission is at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .
Guy Webster (818) 354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.