Dr. Robert Winglee answered questions from Nevada student teams on Entry, Descent, and Landing of Mars 2020

When might we have a projected time so we can start planning public events to watch the landing?
The landing is planned for Feb 18, 2021.

Why was this particular landing site chosen?
The site for Mars 2020 has the river delta feature which means there was running water and a good marshy environment in early times for Mars and hence it is a good target to look for past life.

How do you do timekeeping on the planet Mars?
The rotation period of mars is well document and so timing is day using a Martian day which is a little longer than an earth day.

What is the size of the Jezero crater at the west side of the ellipse?
Diameter is about 30 miles – the challenge only uses a small fraction of the crater.

How much targeting data will be captured in case the landing fails?
This landing will have AI to be able to navigate around hazardous ground conditions.

What was the result of MSL landing too slow?
It still landed near the center of its landing ellipse so not much problems at all.

What happens to the parachute and the rest of the device used to get it to the ground?
Ejected away from the landing site – so yes there is some pollution of the surface.

Will there be CubeSats used in Mars 2020?
No, but Mars2020 will have a mni-drone on board to attempt first flight off world.

Will MRO be imaging the spacecraft during EDL?
Depends on timing.