Mission to Mars: Perseverance's Milestones

Red planet mars and rover

Tuesday, October 19, 2021
12:00-1:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)




Check out this video to watch the Mission to Mars: Perseverance's Milestones.

Brought to you in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Western Alumni Association

Our team at Western watched with anticipation and excitement as NASA's Perseverance Rover touched down on Mars in February. Since then, Percy has spent 216 Martian days testing all of its engineering capabilities. Percy has driven 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) of rough terrain and has taken more than 80,000 photos with its 19 cameras. In this webinar, Dr. Melissa Rice, head of Western's Mars rover team, will summarize the major successes of the mission so far, including three major milestones: collecting the first rock core samples, flying the Ingenuity helicopter, and publishing the first science results about the Jezero Crater delta. She'll also describe what's coming next for Perseverance, and how Western students are contributing to NASA's exploration of Mars.

Melissa Rice

Dr. Melissa Rice


Dr. Rice is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, where she has held a joint appointment in the Geology Department and the Physics & Astronomy Department since 2014. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012, and was a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 2012-2014. Her research focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of Mars. 

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach


Jackie is the Associate Dean of the college, as well as an associate professor in the Geology department. Jackie’s undergraduate years were spent at Yale University where she earned degrees in both Physics and English. In 2001 Jackie earned her Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, after which she spent five years working for the Alaska Volcano Observatory, first at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and then as a Mendenhall Postdoc with the U.S. Geological Survey. She has been at Western since 2006, teaching about topics ranging from introductory geology to earthquake seismology to mantle convection.

Questions & Accommodations

Contact the Western Alumni Association for this event. Feel free to call at 360.650.3353 or email at alumni@wwu.edu if you have any questions or comments.

There will be auto-captions available for this event. To request closed captions, please mark the request on the registration form. Advance notice of three days to one week is appreciated.