SAN JOSE, Calif. – Luke Dubord, avionics systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave several hundred engineers a tour of the Red Planet through the eyes of the Mars rover in a DESIGN West keynote here.
Dubord represented more than a thousand NASA engineers and several thousand contractors who helped build and land Rover. The 900-kilogram vehicle has just started its planned trip toward Mount Sharp where it will study the planet’s geology.
“We’d really appreciate it if as a community of engineers you join us on that journey of exploration,” he said.
In an hour-long talk Dubord described the guts of the Rover, some of the science it will conduct—including finding the oldest stream bed in the universe—and the vehicle’s unusual landing via a “Skycrane” that lowered it to the surface.
“It’s one of those things you feel is too crazy to be true--even in the engineering team people asked, ‘Is this really what we are going to do?’” he said.
DesignWest did an awesome job of picking Keynote speakers. I only got to sit through the first two, but both Luke Dubord and Mayim Bialik were articulate, interesting and inspiring.
The amount of work the Mars rover folks can pull off with just 110 Watts at their disposal is pretty amazing.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.