Blink loves Mars
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Feb 19, 2021

Blink loves Mars

Blink is extremely proud of our friends at NASA, who successfully landed the Perseverance Rover on Mars this week.

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Beginning in 2016, Blink has had the extreme great fortune to work in close collaboration with NASA on dozens of projects, ranging from user research to understand how scientists use satellite data, to designs for visualizing satellites moving through space.

This week we were especially thrilled to see one of our recent projects get international coverage as the Mars rover landed, without a glitch, on the big red planet after seven months of space travel.

NASA’s Eyes team, located at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, is responsible for visualizing NASA’s space missions, the Earth, our solar system, and the universe.

Using the best available engineering data to produce real-time visualizations, the Eyes team produced a special product for the landing of the Perseverance rover, called Mars 2020 Entry, Descent and Landing, which takes you from orbit down to the surface of Mars.

The Eyes platform was developed and built in-house by JPL’s Visualization Technology Adaptations and Development Group, a small yet powerful team led by Jason Craig.

In collaboration with this team, Blink designed the detailed user experience, storytelling, visual design, and user interface for the robust, data-rich, and immersive application.

Nasa Mars Rover Simulation
This visualization in NASA’s Eyes shows the rover’s spacecraft shedding its cruise stage parts as it approaches Mars. The Eyes application shows data in the left panel about the current stage and tells the story of the rover’s entry, descent, and landing.
Nasa Mars Rover Seperation
This visualization from NASA’s Eyes shows the rover separating from its descent stage landing gear as it approaches Mars. 20-foot cables lower the rover down slowly to avoid any damage from a high-speed touchdown.

As part of Blink’s work, many of our team members spent time “on lab” at JPL and were able to stop by the “clean room” viewing deck to watch the Mars rover being built over the last several years.

It has been an experience of a lifetime and reminds Blinkers why we love consulting and working with such extraordinary clients. Not only are the great minds at JPL and NASA brilliant, but they are extremely generous with their time and expertise, and simply love their jobs. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and everyone at Blink is cheering for our rover and our friends who are celebrating all across NASA.

Bravo!

Photo credits: Karen Clark Cole and Peter Stern.
Karen Peter Bill Megan JPL
Blink’s Eyes team in the clean room observation deck at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL, watching early stages of the Mars rover assembly in 2019. Karen Clark Cole, Bill Flora, Megan Greco, and Peter Stern.
On the floor at JPL
View into the clean room from the JPL observation deck. NASA’s robotics engineers hard at work on the Mars rover in 2019.
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View into the clean room from the JPL observation deck. The Mars rover and its spaceship were built and assembled at JPL, NASA’s center focused on Mars in Pasadena, CA.
Megan in the Mars Yard Header
Blinker Megan Greco in JPL’s “Mars yard” where rovers are tested on various surfaces designed to simulate the surface of the big red planet.
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JPL’s “Mars yard” where rovers are tested on various surfaces designed to simulate the surface of the planet.
Geoff JPL Machine Shop
Blink’s Geoff Harrison tours the JPL machine shop with legend and JPL veteran of over 37 years, Oscar Avalos.
KCC at JPL
Karen Clark Cole in JPL’s Mission Control viewing room, where you can select which satellite’s data to view.
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JPL’s Mission control center.