Mars Rover Selfies Really Cheer Me Up: The Mars Dust Storm and Its Impact on Space Exploration

Mars Rover Selfies Really Cheer Me Up: The Mars Dust Storm and Its Impact on Space Exploration

Poor little Opportunity. Will its solar panels let it phone home after weeks under a sky-darkening dust storm?

A big Martian dust storm has been looming over the planet since early summer 2018, and it's throwing a curve ball at our Mars rover programs. Dr. Pamela Gay, of the famed AstronomyCast, talks to us about why the dust storm is more important than any of the other dust storms endured by our cute SUV-sized rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity. NASA Research Astrophysicist Dr. Scott Guzewich leads a team of scientists for NASA in the investigation of the dust storm. He outlines the rover programs, what the data is telling us, how this dust storm affects what we know about the planet, and how it will affect future exploratory missions.

Dr. Gay talks about diversity in STEM with Engility’s hosts, “If you don’t see yourself in science, you don’t imagine yourself going into a field in science.” The conversation quickly turns to current news and the Mars rovers. The podcast moves from dust storms to possible water to the nature of scientific curiosity and aspiring scientists. She even talks about playing the game, “Is this our planet or not?”

GET S.E.T. Mars Rover Podcasts The hosts then speak with Dr. Guzewich who leads the dust investigation for NASA. He quickly dispels the idea of a Mars dust storm bowling over an astronaut, but he does point out that the current planet-wide dust storm is setting records. Covering Mars exploration since the NASA flybys of Mars in the 1960s, when Mariner IV passed by the Red Planet, Dr. Guzewich tells us how we’re engineering the next 2020 rover.

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Engility’s podcast series, Get S.E.T. – Science, Engineering and Technology, features interviews with those exploring innovation and futuristic approaches to problem solving. Guests discuss the latest advances in national defense, space science, and intelligence technology.