Virtual OMSI Science Pub: Curiosity Rover

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Moving the Joystick: What It Really Takes to Operate a Rover on Mars with Gregory G. Villar III, Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

JUNE 30, 2020 | Virtual Edition | 6:30-8:30PM | $5 suggested donation (

On August 5, 2012, at about 10:30 p.m. Pacific Time, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) began its mission to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support microbial life. Also known as the Curiosity rover, MSL is the most sophisticated piece of technology ever sent to our neighboring red planet, equipped with 10 scientific payloads, a total of 17 cameras, an arm, a drill, and a battery powered by heat from naturally decaying radioactive material. With this suite of instruments and capabilities, Curiosity is able to perform as a geologist and geochemist, in addition to atmospheric scientist and particle physicist. However, although the rover is able to perform the functions of all these scientific roles, it actually takes the collaborative effort of over 500 people to “move the joystick” behind the scenes. Join Gregory as he sheds light on what it really takes to operate a rover on Mars.


June 30 2020


Date: June 30
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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