If you truly were terrified during the Seven Minutes of Terror that saw the Curiosity Rover successfully land on Mars, you can blame NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Tom Rivellini. As JPL’s Principal Engineer for Entry Descent and Landing Systems, Rivellini co-invented the sky crane landing system that helped the rover plant its wheels on the red planet. He met with us backstage to discuss the challenges that have been encountered with these feats of engineering, and what he’s currently working on: a new parachute and heat shield system for landing spacecraft carrying humans or larger rovers on Mars. Hit the jump for the full interview on video.
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