Mission to Mars Update

The official mission name is Mars 2020 but it’s commonly referred to by us lay people as the mission to Mars. The mission launched on 7/30/20 and included the Perseverance rover and the Mars Helicopter. Mission objective is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith for possible return to Earth. AND to demonstrate aerial flight capabilities in the Martian atmosphere.

The Mars helicopter has flown successfully, our species’ first flight on an alien world!

Susan Johnson, Engineering Program Manager at NASA Glenn Research Center, will provide an overview update of the mission with a special focus on the Mars Helicopter and Perseverance Rover.

About Our Speaker

Susan M. Johnson, Engineering Program Manager, is assigned to the Aeronautics Mission Office and is the Project Manager for Propulsion in the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology Project.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Johnson attended Kent State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering Technology with minors in mathematics and physics. She also was awarded a Master of Science degree from the University of Toledo in Engineering Science, with mechanical engineering emphasis.

Previous research work experience at NASA Glenn includes studying Diesel engine applications for general aviation aircraft, experimental research on jet engine combustors, and fuel nozzle configurations for turbomachinery emission reduction. She has been an aerospace project manager for over 20 years managing diverse propulsion engine projects such as the Advanced Turboprop project and hypersonic engine technology projects.

Ms. Johnson has received the National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy, for the greatest American achievement in aeronautics and astronautics, as a team member of the Advanced Turboprop project, the NASA agency Equal Employment Opportunity Medal, and the NASA agency Exceptional Service Medal for sustained performance of NASA’s Aeronautics mission and goals.


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