Now that we have some general knowledge about our destination, as well as a better idea about the relative distances between not only the Earth and Mars, but also between Mars and other heavenly bodies, it’s time to plan our mission to Mars.
We need to plan for a long trip, determine which power source we’ll use, select science instruments that will help us accomplish our goals, make sure everything will fit on the rocket, and stay under budget! This week, we’ll be listening to Elizabeth Cordoba, a payload systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who has some expert advice about how NASA plans their missions to Mars.
That’s right, missions. Since the first successful flyby of Mars in 1965, four space agencies have successfully made it to Mars: NASA, the former Soviet Union space program, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Indian Space Research Organization, while others, including the space agencies in Japan and China, have tried.
For your upcoming mission, however, you’re going to need Elizabeth Cordoba…