Press Release

Media Invited to Mars Landing Virtual Roundtable

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2021
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Entry, descent and landing (EDL) experts from NASA’s Langley Research Center will participate in a virtual roundtable and be available for questions from media 9:30 a.m. Feb. 17, one day ahead of the landing of NASA’s 2020 Mars Perseverance rover mission.

Perseverance is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on Thursday, Feb. 18 at approximately 3:55 p.m. EST.

Experts will include:

Michelle Munk, NASA EDL capability lead
Henry Wright, MEDLI2 project manager
David Way, Mars 2020 flight mechanics and simulation lead
Carlie Zumwalt, flight mechanics engineer

To receive an invite to the roundtable, contact Kristyn Damadeo (757-755-0366,, or Joe Atkinson (757-755-5375,

Engineers and researchers at Langley have had key roles in the Perseverance mission. They led development of the aerodynamics and aeroheating databases and characterization of the parachute system. The center’s flight mechanics simulation team has run approximately 10 million performance simulations and is supporting the landing. The Mars EDL Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) project is led by Langley in partnership with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. There, researchers developed an instrumentation system including sensors, harnessing and electronics that are installed on the aeroshell of the entry vehicle.

Perseverance will land in Mars’ Jezero Crater and collect and store rock and soil samples for return to Earth by a future mission. Once those samples are brought to Earth, scientists will use a variety of sophisticated instruments to help answer the question of whether there was ancient microbial life on Mars.

NASA will host multiple televised briefings on Perseverance before, during and after the landing, including a mission status briefing 1 p.m. EST Feb. 17 that will include Langley MEDLI2 team member Kaitlin Liles. To see the full schedule, watch the briefings and live coverage of the landing on Feb. 18 beginning at 2:15 p.m. EST, visit:

For more information about Perseverance, visit:


SpaceRef staff editor.