student and teacher working with letter tiles

From Mars to the EMS

Monday, April 5, 2021

On April 1, Alessandra Babuscia, telecommunication engineer in the Flight Communications Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), delivered a virtual presentation to the Elementary•Middle School (EMS) community about her involvement with NASA's $2 billion Mars Perseverance Mission. The presentation, offered to the elementary and middle school students in two separate sessions, described Dr. Babuscia's work on the most recent mission to Mars.

She shared video footage taken from the Perseverance Rover as well as Ingenuity, a state-of-the-art, four-pound helicopter, all controlled remotely that are currently on the red planet gathering data and collecting minerals to determine ancient habitability. It took six months for Perseverance and Ingenuity to arrive. The samples taken on Mars will be returned to earth in the future by another mission. The devices will retire on the red planet and will not return. Dr. Babuscia's work will enable the Perseverance and Ingenuity to be in constant communication, albeit delayed (12 minute lag time), with mission control at the JPL. "Dr. Babuscia's explanation of such a complex program was really clear—the students were fascinated. And the footage that she shared was absolutely breathtaking," said Sharon Musto, the EMS faculty member who arranged the visit.

Dr. Babuscia is married to Landmark alumnus Jeremy Stone '05. 

Read more about the mission here

EMS students watch a presentation on the Perseverance rover on Mars