First Mode senior systems engineer Mallory Lefland is part of the team that will be monitoring the entry, descent and landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. (NASA Photo / Bobak Ferdowsi)
Thanks to Geekwire contributing editor, Alan Boyle, for featuring First Mode’s work on the Mars 2020 mission!
This Mars mission is already weird enough — and not just because it would be the first mission to store up samples for eventual return to Earth, and the first to try flying a mini-helicopter over Mars.
Because of the yearlong COVID-19 pandemic, the hundreds of scientists and engineers behind the Perseverance rover mission have had to work almost exclusively from home. On the big day, only a minimal crew of ground controllers will be on duty at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Mallory Lefland, a JPL veteran who’s now a senior systems engineer at First Mode, will be there as part of the mission’s team for entry, descent and landing, or EDL. “Most people won’t be on lab, working their shift, until 24 hours before landing,” she said last week during a mission preview hosted by Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Whether they’re working at JPL or working from home, the people in charge of the $2.7 billion mission will serve mostly as spectators during the final minutes of the rover’s seven-month, 300 million-mile journey to Mars.
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