Please join me on Facebook Live for a Countdown to Mars pre-landing presentation with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists.
NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will land on Mars on Thursday, February 18. Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet. It will collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for future return to Earth, search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet’s geology and climate, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.
Dr. Moogega Cooper received her B.A. in Physics from Hampton University in 2006. She then enrolled in Drexel University where she received her Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in thermal fluid sciences. Her dissertation studies involved non-equilibrium plasma sterilization of spacecraft materials so it was a logical transition to work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Planetary Protection Group. She was involved in the Mars 2020 Mission where she is the Lead of Planetary Protection, and looks forward to leading the next endeavor with the Europa Lander concept. She is also involved in a Mars Sample Return-related project where she is developing sterilization capabilities for a possible returned sample from Mars.
Dr. Randii Wessen has been an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since March 1984. He is currently the Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry’s A-Team. Prior to this, Dr. Wessen has worked with several mission and program areas at JPL including System Engineer in the Astrophysics Division, Telecommunications & Mission Systems Manager in the Deep Space Network serving Mars missions, Manager of the Cassini Science Planning & Operations, the Galileo Deputy Sequence Team Chief, and the Voyager Science Sequence Coordinator for the Uranus & Neptune encounters.