tv NASA Press Conference on Status of Mars Opportunity Rover CSPAN February 13, 2019 6:22pm-7:26pm EST
that's what this building is and that's to some extent what it represents. >> with the help of our comcast cable partners will travel to the city to learn about the life of our 16th president. >> disguised is political ambition under the umbrella of his law practice. that's the significance of the circuit and in doing so he built his network that eventually he used in 1850 to put himself into the position of getting the republican nomination. >> these are the gloves that were in abraham lincoln's pocket on the night of the assassination. you can see the remnants of the blood. >> join us this saturday at noon as we speak with local springfield authors and this sunday at 2 pm to learn about lincolns ties to springfield and the political history of this town on american history tv. watch c-span's city tour of
springfield, illinois. working with our cable affiliate as we explore the american story. nasa officials said today after more than 15 years on the surface of mars rover opportunities mission is finished. the announcement came after nasa lost contact with the rover in june and made a final attempt yesterday to reestablish the signal. when opportunity landed on mars in 2004 the voyage was expected to last only 90 days. this briefing from the jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california runs one hour. >> hello welcome to nasa's jet propulsion laboratory. i am standing in the historic von karman auditorium. this is where jpl has historically released its news on voyager, and today on one of our mars rovers. the day that opportunity landed
it was 15 years ago, believe it or not, this place was packed. full of reporters and members of the team. today it is packed again with many of the people back for today's news. it has been fabulous and wonderful to see everyone together again, everyone probably knows by now that nasa's opportunity went silent june 10. that is after a massive global dust storm covered the planet. and the skies darkened and the rover could not get solar power. last night the team made its final plan to command, and we have some video to show you. at the time part of the team went up to mission control to send up more commands to ask the rover to respond. one way is 13.5 minutes.
it took 13.5 minutes to get a signal to mars. and if the rover responded it would take another 13.5 minutes to come back. to find out more on what the outcome was from last night, i'd like to introduce you to the panel. we begin with introductions. our jpl director mike watson. the nasa administrator jim and the associate administrator thomas. thomas, we will start with you. >> thank you so much. i was there yesterday and i was there with the team as the commands went out into the deep sky. and i learned this morning that we had not heard back. and our opportunity remained silent. it is therefore that i am standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude to declare the opportunity mission as complete. and with it the mars
explanation rover mission is complete. i stand here surrounded by a team and i have to tell you it's an emotional time. i stand here surrounded by a team that i, before even came to nasa, i got to know as i watched this amazing landing and the development and of course at the center of that were two people, pete who is right here at ami, a hero in the world -- [applause] right next to me is steve you're going to meet later. another hero[applause] and surrounded by a team, it's
a team that makes success like this. a team that creates exploration, transformative explanation and it's a team celebrating here to beam emotionally. i saw the cornell professor jumping up and down like my four-year-old at his birthday when the landing was complete. the rover said i am here. we are celebrating with emotion, science is an emotional affair. it is a team sport. and that is what we are celebrating today. i will never forget the amazing work that happened here. it transformed our understanding of our planet. everything we do and think about in our planetary neighborhood with mars and elsewhere relates to the research that came from that. and the engineering breakthroughs. it is really a great honor right now to introduce a champion for exploration and science, the administrator. >> thank you so much, it is an
honor to be here. i want to say almost two decades worth of work by so many extraordinarily impressive people in this room right now, and then last year i became the administrator and opportunity quit communicating. can you believe that? i take full responsibility. but because i am a politician historically, i will go ahead and pass that responsibility to someone else. i don't know yet, but i will figure out who that is. this is a celebration. of so many achievements. i will start by saying, when this little rover landed, the objective was to have it be able to move 1100 yards and survive for 90 days on mars. instead here we are 14 years later after 28 miles of travel
and today we get to celebrate the end of this mission it's an honor for me as a nasa administrator to come here to this amazing facility with so many amazingly talented people to say thank you for your great word. not just for our country but for science the people will benefit with all over the world. now i'd like to take the opportunity to introduce the direction mike ones. >> spirit and opportunity may be gone but they leave a legacy. a new paradigm for solar system exploration. the robotic geologists on mars and an integrated science team here on earth set out together on a mission of discovery. they didn't know what they would find or know which direction they would go, one day to the next, and they made it work, longer than any of us thought possible by brilliant
scientific deduction of where to go and really engineering to keep the rovers alive. that legacy continues not just in the curiosity rover which is currently operating on mars after about 2300 days, but in our new 2020 rover which is under construction at the jet propulsion laboratory. certain opportunity did more than that, they energized the public about the spirit of mars exploration. they brought to life these two intrepid rovers in eight dedicated ground team. and the infectious energy and electricity this mission created was obvious to the public. that legacy turns out not only in a generation of engineers and scientists of which i am one, but a generation of students. anywhere inspired to go into s.t.e.m. careers and a few of them to come here to jpl to work on this mission, opportunity.
you will hear more in the upcoming panel and i'll now turn it back. >> we would like to add we will take questions later in the program. if you are on the telephone hit star one to get yourself in the queue. if you have a question on social media use hashtag at nasa. let's tell you about our rover, opportunity. if there were a word to describe this rover it would be an over achiever. think about it, it was only supposed to 90 days. it went 14.5 years. from it we learned a wealth of science and also how to explore. with that we give you this overview. >> positive confirmation of a safe landing. >>[applause]
>> very strong. >> opportunity hit a hole in one when she landed. the airbag systems rolled into a small crater and when the rover first turned on its camera, it saw the rim of the small crater is lined with exposed bedrock. took out her microscope for the first time and we took a picture in the surface of mars at that location is littered with little round things. >> they were called blueberries because they look like berries in a muffin. but we discovered was that those are features that foreman water and they were definitive sign that there have been liquid water on the surface of mars sometimes in the past. >> we left eagle crater we went to endurance crater and that is the crater we drove down in. there we did with the geologists call and in sequence stratigraphic section which is essentially reading chapters of the martian history book in reverse order. >> for the first time we had a stratigraphy on mars.
we knew we wanted to go after endurance, victoria, we put the pedal to the middle and started heading there. tens of kilometers away. we had to surf across the dunes of windblown material and the rover got stuck in one of those. we had to get the rover unstuck. what we found is the best way to get it out is to put it in reverse and gun it. the rover eventually popped out. so we changed our driving strategy. we recognized these ripples as hazards. >> we get to this giant half- mile letter writer, victoria crater, we want to figure out, how can we go into this thing? all of a sudden we got horizon images and could see it in the image. >> the first image we got showing the rover. >> we spent years counting the edge of that crater to decide where we wanted to go in to get the best stratigraphic section.
he found a place to go in and we drove down in and spent about one year inside victoria crater. >> the science team was excited about the idea of driving to endeavor crater. over 20 kilometers away. a long drive. he was going to take multiple years. they decided to do it anyway. >> there were too many dangerous ripples in our way. we had to take the route that at times took us away from the crater only to then cut back and then approach it more directly. >> you pull up to endeavor crater and they're all these new things to look at. >> the first discovered the home steak vein. a very bright linear feature. it turns out it was a jeppesen vein and we see these all over. our first taste of an important prophets on mars. >> we were driving to a valley and along the way there we realized, right about the point we were about to get there, that's what we're going to
cross the marathon mark. that's cool, we're going to name the valley after that, marathon valley. the distance of a marathon, 26.2 miles on another planet. continued driving on the interior of the crater rim until he came back out so we could get onto the next valley, perseverance valley. >> the rover was exploring when we lost contact. >> we said we're going to operate this vehicle until the day we can't and that's what we did. i am really proud. >> we set a foundation that will serve as the basis for future exploration. >> [applause] >> opportunity would not of had that longevity had it not been the engineers that built it and the engineers that kept it going. they took the word around to a new level.
[laughter] let me introduce you to the project manager and the deputy project scientist. >>[applause] >> good morning. we were meant to get to this point, to wear them out, leave behind no unutilized capability on the surface of mars. we had no idea it would take this long. even still, this is a hard day. this is hard for me because i was there at the beginning. i remember during the early days of development where we were trying to finish up the construction of the rover in the clean room a few feet away from here, that we were working three shifts. the engineering team was working the first two shifts and they had one person who would keep a skeleton shift for the rover's from 11 pm through 7 am. i volunteered to take many of
those shifts typically on the weekend when it was hard to find someone. it was meaningful and touching because it was just me with the two rovers. they were in the clean room like it was a neonatal care facility. it had all the life-support equipment. you would watch their vital signs and see the heart rate and see the voltages and temperatures in currents and they would be living. he would see them wake and sleep. during those times when it was just me, you develop a special bond. they become your children. that theme is true for so many people here tonight i think. that they have that strong connection. even though it's a machine, and we are saying goodbye, it's still very hard and very poignant. but we had to do that. we had to come to that point. what happened? back in june we were afflicted by a historic mobile dust storm on mars the black and the skies over the reiver rover and
starved for energy and it went silent. we tried over the last eight months to recover the rover, we listened every single day and we sent over 1000 recovery commands trying to exercise every possibility of getting a signal from the rover. but with time, the skies are darkening and it's getting colder on mars, we recently passed through the historic dust cleaning season on mars to see if that would help. that brought us to last night and we said our final command and we heard nothing. it comes time to say goodbye. we want to remember that 14.5 years of phenomenal exploration. this is a 90 day mission and we were excited by having three months to explore the senate with one kilometer of capability. 14.5 years later and 45
kilometers of odometer he we have done phenomenal things. is greatly expanded our understanding of the red planet. why did these rovers last so long? why did opportunity last so long? there are two main technical reasons. one is that we had expected that dust falling out of the air would accumulated the solar rays and choke off power. after 90 days. we didn't expect is that wind did come along periodically and blow the dust off. this on a seasonal cycle actually became a reliable. and allowed us to survive not just the first winter but all the winters we experienced on mars. to keep going and exploring. the other thing was these rovers have the finest batteries in the solar system. they have over 5000 charge and discharge cycles on them. they still have about or had about 85% of their capacity. we would love it if our cell phone batteries lasted this long.
that really was an enabling capability, with the dust cleaning and the batteries, allowed us to have the critical energy we needed to get through the critical darkest parts of the winters on mars and keep exploring. and explore we have. have done phenomenal things and you will hear about that. we had many challenges along the way. when we first landed on mars one of the things we happened was we had heater on the robotic arm on the rover that got stuck on. every night that he would come on and waste energy from the rover. if we left it alone like that the mission wouldn't have lasted beyond the 90 days. developed a technique called deep sleep which is every night we turn everything off on the rover including all the survival heaters. rover would get cold. but it would stay just warm enough that in the morning when the sun would come up it would power up and never got below it's allowable temperatures. this is kind of like the light in your bedroom is stuck on,
and you can't sleep so what you do is go outside and turn off the master breaker for your house. that means your refrigerator starts to warm up. but by the morning time you wake up and turn the breaker back on the ice cube hasn't melted too badly. you do that every night. imagine doing that for 5000 nights. that's what we have to do for this vehicle. it also partially perhaps explains why we weren't able to recover it. with the loss of power, the clock gets scrambled. and it wouldn't know when to deep sleep. it probably wasn't sleeping at night when i needed to and the heater was stuck on, draining away whatever energy the solar rays were accumulating from the sun to charge those batteries. that might be part of this explanation in addition to the fact that now it's much colder and darker on mars. we had many other challenges. any of the people in this room know, he suffered from amnesia
on the rover, where the flash memory stopped working in the vehicle would remember anything past shutting down and sleeping. we had to make sure we got down every day all the critical information we collected. and we did that for many years. all of those things were accomplished by a phenomenal engineering and science team. we were innovative and problem solving and figuring out ways how to keep the rover going and how to keep it productive and to continue that exploration and scientific discovery. the fact that we lasted so long also meant that we lost some people. some of our colleagues sadly passed away. but many people moved on to other things, other projects and other endeavors. we had to replace those people and we hired in many young people onto this project and train them to be experienced engineers. he had literally a pipeline of training young engineers to be phenomenal intruders for their careers going forward here at
jpl and nasa. that has been a rewarding legacy of this project that a generation of scientists and engineers the can go on to do even greater things. i will turn it over to her deputy project scientist to say a little bit about the dust storm and some of the science we did. abby? >> thank you very much. if we can show the graphic of the dust storm, this was a historic dust storm. we needed a historic dust storm to finish this historic mission. on your screen you can see the simulation of what the sun usually looks like. on the left where there is a bright sun that looks like a typical summer day on mars. in the middle of the image that is about as dark as the sun got in the previous dust storm both experienced in 2007. this past dust storm, we could tell this guy got his dark is what you see all the way on the right-hand side. the sky was so dark we couldn't see the sun and the solar panels couldn't recharge the battery.
i will speak a little bit to john's statement about the legacy of this rover. an opportunity landed in 2004 i was actually in high school. i was a high school junior but had the amazing opportunity to come to jpl and actually be here when the rovers landed. i was a participant in an outreach program sponsored by the planetary society. i was in this room on landing night. there i am. standing right over there for the press conference. that is a picture of me with the science team seeing the first images come back. it was those first images from opportunity that inspired me to become a planetary scientist. they revealed a few of mars we had never seen before and i was in the room with the folks who were so excited to see that bedrock and crater. i wanted to know why. i've been hearing a lot of
people's stories both from within the project, within jpl and from all over the world from social media and what strikes me is so cool is that this story is not unique for me. you really are hundreds if not thousands of students just like me who witnessed these rovers and followed along the mission from the images to the public over the last 15 years. and because of that went to pursue careers in science and education and math. thank you all so much and i will turn it back. >> thank you abby. >>[applause] >> can i get a show of hands of how many of you happen to be in high school below? how many of you have been here since the beginning of the mission? this is fabulous to see that it has gone through generations, this is so cool. we come back we look at
scientific discoveries. >> one of the other things about this project that has been a unique opportunity for everyone involved is the people that have been involved in the process. yes the project is about a robot, with the reality is that was built by a bunch of people. >> the reason it has lasted so long goes back first and foremost to the people who built them. a team of engineers, at the jet propulsion laboratory and other institutions that 19 years ago were given a task that many people thought was impossible. that group of engineers build these extraordinary group of machines, the reason that missions and spirit of opportunity instead of being 90 days and driving half a kilometer across the martian service turned out to be this more than a decade long adventure of expiration has been because of the engineers and what they did.
>> some folks forget that opportunity was actually a twin, the mars exploration moreover -- rover mission had spirit to explore the other side of mars. and just like opportunity, it went well past its warranty. it brought together lots of science for our team. let me introduce you to steve squires, the principal investigator and the scientist to tell us about these findings. >> let me just say it's so good to see so many of my dear friends and colleagues from the mars exploration rover project past and present. i love you guys. it's great to see everybody. spirit an opportunity were robotic field geologists. geology is a forensic science.
geologist is like a detective at the scene of a crime. something happened at this place on mars billions of years ago. what was it? what was it like back then? you are looking for clues and the clues are in the rocks. equipped these vehicles with the tools they needed to read those clues. spirits mission really began in earnest 156 days into our 90 day admission when we reached the columbia hills. this wonderful range of hills we named to honor the memory of the columbia space shuttle astronauts. and, the clues there told us about what mars was like at this place very long ago. very early in martian history. mars today is cold and dry and pretty desolate, it's a place where not much happens. but, at that place long ago, it
was a hot and violent and steamy place. there was a lot going on. violent impacts the produced craters. there were volcanic explosions. volcanic lava would come to contact with water and ice below the ground and flashing to steam and throw rocks everywhere. most compellingly we saw profound evidence for hydrothermal activity. hot water. there was steam vents. geologists would call volcanic, hot springs. it sounds like a scary place. and actually was. but it was the kind of place that would've been very suitable for very hearty groves. a place that was habitable. opportunities mission, it had
to missions. the first one lasted for nine years. it started the first day we landed. it was geologic paydirt from lo from the very beginning. the story in the clues, in the rocks at the opportunity site was very different. these were somewhat younger rocks, and what they showed was evidence that there had been liquid water below the surface, liquid water that had come to the surface, trickled across the ground, evaporated away. but it wasn't nice stuff. you know, we were running around water on mars. was really sulfuric acid on mars. okay? the ph was very low, this was very acidic stuff, very salty. this was not evidence of an evolutionary paradise, but it was a fascinating, fascinating environment, and we study that place by going to a series of
impact craters, first little eagle crater, smaller than this room where we landed. that endurance crater and ultimately the long six kilometer trek down to victoria crater. and we were at victoria for two years, body year-long the rim and another year down inside. and by the time we wrapped up, the investigation at victoria, we have been at that point on mars of 4 1/2, five years, something like that. we put a better part of seven or eight kilometers on the odometer. we had kind of gone and done most of what you could do on these rocks. you know, we had done stratigraphic sections, we have been down into these craters, we had really pieced together a compelling, detailed, scientifically new wants to story of what had happened. but then, we had to decide what to do next. and what we could have done i suppose was just kind of noodle around on the planes until the
wheels fell off, but it didn't feel like the right thing to do. it was not, that was not a goal worthy of this rover. it was not worthy of this team. so we made the decision at that point to do the long, long, long drive to in denver crater. it was 4 1/2 years, something like that to get down there. 20 kilometers. it was excruciating, but we got there, and when we got there the mission started all over again. you rocks, new stories, looking at a very distant past. we were able at the rim of in denver crater to find rocks that were probably the oldest observed by either one of the rovers. rocks that even predated the formation of the in denver crater and those told the story of water coursing through the
rocks but with a neutral ph, water you drink. so we were able to piece together a new story there. that is one of the most significant discoveries that came 11 years into the 90 day mission. >> so the traverse from victoria to endeavor was not excruciating. it was incredibly exciting. for someone whose day job is trying to figure out where to land spacecraft on mars, the science behind that is looking at remote sensing data and predicting down what is on the ground. and when we got to victoria crater, the world opened up in a way that it never had before with high rise images. high resolution images at 25 centimeters per pixel for the first time we could see our rover sitting on the surface. and that means you could figure out where to drive it and have a knowledge that it would be a safe path or not. the distance in line of sight between victoria and endeavor was maybe 16 kilometers, but along that path were 70% of the surface included bedforms,
large ripples that could eat your rover. and we didn't want our rover to be eaten by a bedform. that wasn't the idea. so we have to figure out a path and tim parker and i spent years looking at the high rise images and came up with a variety of paths. a blue pass, the yellow pass, we had the gold path and finally we had the pink pass. in the pink pass was the winner. the pink path went completely out of the way from the straight line direction between the two, drove south and then drove east in a direction where there were not a lot of hazards. and some of my fondest personal memories of the mission were going into the rover team and working with the rover when,
sorry steve, most of the science team had checked out and said no. remind me when we get to an outcrop because the rebels just are doing it for me. [ laughter ] but to me it was tremendously exciting to be able to know where you were, related to what you saw around you, and help the rover planners decide where to go next. okay, that was the fun part. [ laughter ] so the question is, what science, what clues in the rocks allowed us to come up with a story of a battery acid in the middle martian history and clearwater later. and the clues were in the rocks at eagle crater and earlier locations we saw sulfate sandstone. these are rocks with little sand sized particles, and their composition was largely sold for or a large part of it was sulfur and they were finally laminated and layered. and we started thinking about a, in the way we can get these
rocks was by evaporating salty water. and the evaporation the left of these minerals was then put into bedforms, sand dunes, move them around, the water coursed through the rocks and created the blueberries. so that led us to the story of acid rich water, which we don't usually think of as being very useful for life as we know it, but when we got to the rim of endeavor crater, we saw clay minerals that were aluminum rich that could have only formed by privation alteration of neutral ph waters. and neutral ph waters, that is the kind of water we can drink. and that is the kind of water we think life could've gotten started. so this endeavor of going to endeavor crater and exploring
with this rover was after one of those almost theological questions. will life form anywhere that liquid water is stable, or are we really, really lucky? back to you. >> great stories matt. when we come back, we are going to take a peek at our next rover. stay with us. deployed. [ applause ] 3000 feet. the radar has a positive lock on the ground. retro rocket ignition on my march. the rocket has fired. [ cheering and applause ] confirmation of positive signals on the ground. [ cheering and applause ] we are seeing it. [ cheering and applause ]
very strong. >> look at this. [ cheering and applause ] that is our next rover. with us right now is jennifer, she gave us that tore, and also laurie, she is our person who looks over all the planetary missions coming up. so let's take it away with jennifer. >> i am the project systems engineer for the mars 2020 rover. i will talk a little bit about that and the foundation on which that was built, which happened on the mars expiration
rover spirit and opportunity. amazingly, i was the project systems engineer on spirit and opportunity also. so i have a unique perspective to talk about how those rivers are really a steppingstone for the large rivers we built today. and i actually gathered a group of folks, rob and some other people, i don't know if they are here, and we talked about what we thought the real legacy and steppingstones in certain opportunity did for us that helped us build the mars 2020 rover as well as the curiosity rover. and we came up with a couple things i want to talk about today. the first one was that we went from being stuck into being unstuck on mars. what i mean by that is we had viking landers, had the pathfinder lander, but we weren't able to get to the things that we saw in the distance. we saw mountains, we saw rocks, we saw stuff that our geologists wanted to get their hands on and we could not get there. so one of the great paradigm shifts of the mars exploration rover, spirit and opportunity,
we took everything we needed and put it on wheels and made a geologist that could investigate the things the science team was interested in. you can see that here with the model. this is a full-scale model of spirit and opportunity. they were twins. they looked a lot alike. and the things we took with us that made it so we could explore, you can see our communications antenna, the high gain antenna that would trackers, a uhf antenna that would talk to the orbiters. you can see the wheels that would take us everywhere, the cameras that would show us the interesting places. and then this robotic arm that would abrade rocks and would tell us what the rocks were made of. and that was what our geologist was doing on mars. a huge paradigm shift for us. the next thing that was significant in terms of building blocks of how we do business here at jpl was the need to do things faster. we had a couple of requirements and certain opportunity that forced us to do things faster. you heard the prime mission had to be completed in 90 martian
days. that is not a lot of time to do all the things that we needed to do. we also have to build a vehicle and get it on the launch vehicle in three years, which are really figured out and have used a lot more than three years in the time to get there, but three years we had to get a belt. i want to talk a little bit about the 90 mission and what that made us do in terms of our design thinking and what we put onto the rover. if we were to try to operate the rover we we operated previous spacecraft and gave them a sequence every two weeks, it never would've been able to accomplish the mission we needed to do. so what we had to do was take all the things the ground operators with no really do and towed them in the software, put high-level behaviors and autonomy on the vehicle so every day we can tell us something like, drive over there, and it would safely do it and get there on its own. and we can tell it just the times we needed for the
communication windows, and it knew how to configure. it had a behavior that would configure all the communication windows. those things were fundamental to being able to do this mission quickly, and we used them today i curiosity. we use them on mars 2020 and mars 2020 is taking the next steps on things like auto navigation. we are making a new algorithm that allows us to autonomously navigate on even more complex terrain where there are more rocks. we have another processor so we can go faster. we are moving all these things powered. this autonomy really started with mars expiration and is continuing today. i have to share one of my most memorable moments from the spirit and opportunity missions. and i know a lot of you here who were there at this time probably have this is one of your more memorable moments. if you remember, shortly after spirit landed, 18 days into the mission, we lost communications
with spirit. i was a spirit mission manager. i was there that day. we did not know what had happened. we were trying to figure it out but could not get communication from the rover. and there were a number of us trying to figure that out. what made it more harrowing was that opportunity was careening in towards mars and we weren't sure if we were going to have a problem that would cause a problem on opportunity and spirit. so instead of 222, we would be 022. so a bunch of us stayed here for three days, didn't go home, tried to figure this out. the good news is, we figured it out, we saved spirit and opportunity and here we are today 15 years later. but the story i want to tell us when i was writing down the elevator after all that happened working with these people, and there was a group of folks who had been working those days to try to figure out what was going on with me, and i had two really significant feelings. the first one was, obviously, relief. that we saved this river from the grave. but the second one was i looked around at the people around me and thought, wow, what an opportunity for a farm girl from ohio to be surrounded by such amazing people.
a privilege to be part of a team that people could rise to this challenge and solve these problems, whether it was the spirit anonymously or just the team today trying to get spirit back, not spirit, i do know, why do you guys work on spiritually. go spirit! kind of a funny competition between opportunity mission manager but we will get into that. anyway, i want to end by thanking the team from the beginning, from the middle, the team from the and for all the work they did. it is a privilege to be part of that team. now i will handed over to laurie from the planetary science area of nasa headquarters to talk about future mars missions. >> appreciated. jennifer talked a lot about the engineering legacy of spirit and opportunity which is absolutely incredible and and labeling a lot of future exploration, but i want to talk a little bit more about the
scientific legacy of this incredible mission of the mars exploration rover mission. these two rovers really did change the way we think about doing planetary science on the surface of other planets. i love listening and watching steve squires get so excited about the ability to actually roll right up to the rocks we want to see, rollup to them, be able to look at them up close with a microscopic imager. bang on them a little bit, shake them up, scratch them a little bit. take the measurements, understand the chemistry of those rocks and and say that was interesting, now i want to go over there and have that ability to do that. so now when we think about doing planetary science, we just automatically have this new paradigm where we assume we want mobility. we need the ability to go from here to there. we don't want to just go to one place and sit there and do that one spot. we want to move.
and so it was these two rovers really set that new paradigm for how we want to explore. in addition to just that ability to move around, the discoveries of these two rivers, the discovery of liquid water on the surface of mars, at a time in the ancient past has inspired the curiosity mission going on right now, still exploring gail creator. when curiosity landed in the creator we know there was standing water in the ancient past, clearly a habitable environment that inspired our next exploration, which will be mars 2020. we have now chosen the landing site for that mission. we will be landing at jesse row crater where we believe there is an ancient river delta that if life ever did come to be on mars, there ought to be evidence of it there at this location. and we are so excited about it, we're going to drive around with the 2020 rover and collect samples and already starting to work on the next mission, which will be a mars sample return
mission. we are working with the europeans on that, developing very concepts to go back to the creator, collect the samples and bring them back to earth where we can study them and understand, get a good sense of what is there on the surface of mars. and all of this is leading toward the ability in the future to eventually put humans on mars. to get the boots on the ground, but i just want to remind everyone in this room that when we do put humans on mars, they won't be going alone. they will go along with robotic explorers, they will work together and it will be the people in this room or the people you have inspired will be helping to bring both the humans and bring those robotic explorers in the future. i just want to thank you all for that and had a back. >> thanks laurie. [ applause ] >> when we come back we will get final thoughts from the administrator and taking your questions. >> hello, my name is jennifer,
i am the project system engineer on the mars 2020 project. i am standing in an assembly facility in the jet propulsion laboratory were building up the pieces of the mars 2020 flight vehicle. i want to show you some the hardware being built right now. to the far left you can see the cruise case. the part that gets us to mars. the next is the stage that does the power to set when we are landing on mars. it is inside of something we call the air shell which you can see over here. the air shell has a parachute at the top and the parachute will deploy and slow us down at mars. and then to the far right what you see are the heat shields. the heatshield is a part that faces the atmosphere, oblates a little and throws us out and then jettison. and then the river comes down
on the bridle and we land on the surface of mars. what you see over here may not look like what it is, but this is the beginning of the rover that is going to drive on mars. it has the electronics on the inside, but we don't have the wheels on, we don't have the mobility system on, we don't have the belly pan on. all those things are coming in over the next several months and we will finish the rover. so the next thing we are going to do is take all of the pieces that you see in the clean room, put them together in the launch configuration them are going to take into our environmental test so they will see all the averments from launch to landing on mars. and we are on track for a july 2020 launch. >> that's our next rover. and with us now is the administrator to talk to us about what is on the future for
nasa. >> thank you. i appreciate that very much. jennifer, as long as we are going to bring back spirit, let's bring back sojourner as well and the two vikings. and we bring them all back? [ applause ] we tried. i get it. i bring that up for reason because i want to emphasize the legacy of this part of the nasa family. what has been done here at jpl is absolutely astonishing. and it goes back decades. and it's so impressive that because of what you have done here, we are going to be able to do a lot more on the surface of mars in the future. in fact, when i was learning more and more about spirit and opportunity, i got to understand that these two spacecraft on the way to mars actually flew through one of the worst solar storms, one of the worst solar flares that's ever been recorded.
and so they had to actually shut down their computers and then reboot them, which was never intended in their design while they were in flight on the way to mars. and yet, somehow, this agency, is at jpl was able to figure out how to get through that very scary part of the mission with a whole lot of investment and a whole lot of hopes on the line. that's an amazing achievement. i remember this part of the nasa family, and you hear me talk about the nasa family a lot. i remember when i was here for the insight landing just a few short months ago, and we had a downlink from the international space station so our astronauts could actually congratulate the folks in this room, many folks in this room and others that aren't here on what an amazing accomplishment it was to land for the eighth time softly on the surface of mars with a successful mission. that's what the nasa family is all about, bringing together all of the pieces that this agency to accomplish very special things. and of course one of the
special things we have to figure out if we are going to fly humans to mars is how to deal with those solar flares. because that kind of event with a human flight to mars could be absolutely devastating. so that is one of the reasons we are doing the parker solar probe right now. with our helio physics department to figure out when are the solar flares going to occur and what are the impacts going to be. in fact, maybe even accurately enough to know when and how to send humans to mars and do it safely. friends, there is a day coming when we are going to need the entire nasa family to come together and say we are going to put humans on mars and humans are going to be working side-by-side with landers and rovers and robots, and it's going to be the whole of nasa, it will be as a matter fact a whole of the world approach because we are going to need international partners, and that brings me to save policy director one that the president
signed a little over a year ago now. what he said as we are going to go to the moon and go sustainably in the question is why, because when we go to the moon we are going to live and work there for a period of time, we are going to retire risk, we are going to learn how humans can live on a world that is not our own, and we are going to take all those things that we learn is an agency and apply them to mars. we are going to replicate as much as possible of what we learn at mars. and friends, it is only going to be possible because this entire agency, this important part of the agency, this part of the nasa family. the jet proposal laboratory was blazing this trail is currently blazing this trail, not just the spirit and opportunity and sojourner and viking, but now with mars 2020, and eventually
a mars return mission where we are going to be able to look at samples and determine if there is a bio signature in their. friends, the goal is to discover life on another world. that is what we are trying to achieve. and because of so many great people in this room, we are well on our way to doing that. couple of things i want to make sure everybody in the audience at home understands, in fact, because of the curiosity river, we now know that there are complex organic compounds on the surface of mars. that does not guarantee there is life on mars, but increases the probability. we now know that the methane cycles on mars are commensurate with the seasons of mars. that doesn't guarantee there is life on mars, but it increases the probability. we know there is water 12 kilometers, liquid water 12 kilometers under the surface of mars. all of these things collude to say there's a lot we need to learn, and friends, we're going to do it quickly, and your legacy here at jpl and the nasa family is critical to achieving those objectives. once again thank you for having me. congratulations on an amazing
opportunity mission, back to you. >> thanks jim. [ applause ] i must apologize. we do have a hard out on this program. we will need to be off the air it at about 11:59 pacific time. i'm going to go ahead and ask all the panelists and speakers to come on up. we are going to take some questions. if you are on the telephone, go ahead and hit start one to put you in the queue for questions and also if you have social media questions, you can have # asked nasa as a way of getting your questions in. again, we only have a few minutes. i want to promise you we will still take your questions even when we are off the air. we have speakers standing by to take your questions either by phone or online. so we will answer your questions. let's see if there any
questions here in the room. is not, we will go to the telephone. to we have -- we do have a question here in the room. right here in the front third row. >> i am from the planetary society. a question for jennifer and steve and john. since you all were there at the very beginning, what are you taking with you jennifer 220 20? steve, what you will you take from this mission onward and john same question. >> i will start with two things. first, people. all of these people are well trained to become engineers on 2020 and i would love to have every single one of them helping us.
and then, you know, for me it's the family of the people who help to develop this, and we work together towards the next missions, not just this team but the team who work through all of it, the teams are the part behind the rover that make the rovers great. >> for me, when i started out a long time ago on the mars exploration rover project i was a rookie pi. i made a number of silly mistakes, i am sure you remember a few of them. i learned from those, learned a lot. and have tried very hard to pass some lessons along to younger scientists, younger engineers, and then i would completely agree with jennifer. it is really all about the people and this extraordinary group of people in this room, the ones we have lost, along the years, that is the real story, the people on this project, >> for me, it is the privilege and honor to of been part of this project and the honor to have been serving as project manager for the last 12 years. that will stay with me. >> i have a follow one with matt from pathfinder and beyond. >> so this project has been, i have been on this project 18 years, and from the development cycle looking at the landing
sites, all the way through operations, that has been half of my career. you know, it's been great. >> do we have a social media question? we certainly have had quite an outpouring of love online. lots of memories with the # thanks bobby and quite a few people would like to know if we would ever try to retrieve the opportunity rover and perhaps put it in a martian museum. [ laughter ] >> can i take that one? i have been to antarctica and number of times, and i have been to some of the huts that were built by the early expeditions that went there more than a century ago, and they are left exactly as they were when the expeditions ended. you can go in there and walk into the hut and the place with the seal blubber are still there. exactly the way we left them. so i personally would like to
see these. we build them from ours, the place they were designed to go. that is their home, that is where i would like them to stay. also, if you had the opportunity to bring 180 kilograms of stuff back from the surface of mars, the last thing i want to bring is something where i know exactly what it is made of. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> let's see if we have another social media question. nathaniel avery on twitter would like to know, what are some of the new questions we can ask based on what has been learned by this mission? >> i am happy to take that. ray question. opportunity has advanced our
ability to ask questions. back in 2004 we didn't know if there had been liquid water on the surface, these rovers answer that question and revealed some of the details about the timing and chemistry of that water. and we are asking more sophisticated questions. curiosity was sent to answer the question, there was water, wasn't habitable, we have now found that the administrator mentioned, yes it was, there were organic molecules, drinkable water. as we move forward we are asking more complex questions. where is the life? that is part of the reason we're getting the samples. but we are also interested in understanding why the mars climate change, what governs attend middle the the overtime and how does that relate to the plaintiff we're finding in our own solar system and all across the universe and other solar systems. >> we have someone on the phone. >> nasa watch.com. for steve squires, as you guys drove these rivers across mars and stopped at various places and get the names that evoke exploration, one place named
after bob. how would you place spirit and opportunity in the pantheon of exploration vehicles such as endurance and endeavor and the challenger? were there scouting parties? what would you call them in that context? >> that's a tough one. i am probably the worst person in the world ask motions about the legacy of this mission. i am too close to it. i do have a long-standing interest in the history of exploration. i teach a course on the history of exploration at cornell. it is something that is very meaningful to me and i hope our place in that pantheon turns out to be an important one. but for me, on this day at the end it is too hard for me to judge. >> we have another call on the phone from the atlantic. >> thanks for taking my question. i'm curious what you all think is the future of rovers on mars in general. after mars 2020, do you want to
send more to do more exploration? should nasa send more and why? echo i will take that question. thank you. there's definitely a future beyond 2020. as i mentioned, we were collecting samples with the 2020 mission and absolutely want to get the samples back here to earth. and that follow-on mission we will do a additional excretion to collect the samples and bring them back. and i expect that the 2020 mission is going to guide us towards what the next mission to mars is going to be after the samples are returned. so i see a very long and sustained presence at mars and sustained exploration there. as well as the rest of our solar system to help answer these big questions about how the planets formed and how life forms on earth and did it form and other places in our solar system. i definitely see future exploration coming up. >> we promised nasa that we would have a hard out on this program. we will wrap questions right now but take more online and on
sunday on q and a we will discuss the movie based on the 1974 james baldwin neville with the washington post deputy local editor. >> i felt the film was visually beautiful, and the thing that really sticks with you is just how loving and lovely the film is. >> i think his writing really does feel with love. whether it is universal love, loving oneself, love between people and society. i really think that that is the overarching theme. i think a lot of people probably see him because he was so passionate in fighting for the rights of african-americans that sometimes i think that people mistake that for anger, and i don't think, i think he
was not angry, but forceful in his annunciation of racism. >> sunday night at east eight eastern. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public- policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite providers. our first guest of the morning is represented ben klein, republican of virginia users on the judiciary committee and also the education and labor committee. good morning.