Seidel Discusses Mars Landing During Rotary Club Meeting NASA
Education Director David Seidel shared information about NASA’s rover landing on Mars during a Beverly Hills Rotary Club meeting Monday.The Perseverance rover landed on Mars last Thursday. There were six cameras, of which five worked, on the rover to re-cord its entry, descent and landing. Seidel shared the video of the landing with Rota-ry Club members. Seidel said the problem with Mars is that it has both too much and too little at-mosphere. “If it had no atmosphere like the moon, you could do a rocket motor power de-scent. If it had enough atmosphere like Earth, you could do parachutes,” Seidel said. “It’s got enough that you have to use a parachute, but that won’t slow you down enough. You need to use rockets, so we had this pretty complicated set of appara-tus.” He said NASA used something called terrain relative navigation for the first time, which means it took pictures of the ground and compared it to a map to see where the safe and unsafe areas to land were. “The chief engineer for this mission – there is still a big part of him that thinks we got lucky twice,” Se-idel said. “So there’s so many factors involved and everything has to go right. This is the product of literally millions of correctly made decisions and thousands of errors that were caught by process.” Seidel is also a Beverly Hills Traffic and Parking Commissioner. In the 1980s, Se-idel taught astronomy at Beverly High.