Virtual lecture: Robots Roaming Alien Worlds

We look through the annals of planetary exploration at the robotic machines that humans have landed on distant worlds of the Solar System.

BBC Sky at Night Magazine virtual lecture: Robots Roaming Alien Worlds

Please note this event has now ended. To find out what online events are coming up, visit the BBC Sky at Night Magazine webinar webpage.

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Space exploration sparks the imagination, but nothing captures the attention like seeing one of Earth’s robotic ambassadors moving across the landscape of another planet.

In her talk on 25th February at 7pm GMT, astronomer and author Dr Ezzy Pearson delves into the rich and fascinating history of these planetary roamers.

We’ll be hosting the event live online, giving you the chance to put questions to the astronomer and author of the book Robots in Space, published by The History Press.

Dr Pearson’s talk begins with the Soviet lunar rovers of the 1970s that were piloted from Earth with nothing but a blurred black and white image, before moving on to the balloons that bobbed through Venus’s cloud-laden skies.

She will also look at NASA’s Mars rovers, which have spent over 20 years traversing the Red Planet’s surface attempting to answer questions about our neighbouring planet’s past climate and whether it could have once been hospitable to life.

A selfie captured by the Curiosity rover on Mars, processed by Mick Hyde. Credit: Michael L Hyde 2015
Credit: Michael L Hyde 2015

These machines have scaled mountains and descended into craters to reach areas that would be far too dangerous to land in directly, weathering storms and enduring mechanical failure to bring us spectacular close-up views of unworldly terrain.

With NASA’s Perseverance and China’s Tianwen-1 rovers due to touch down on Mars early this month, Dr Pearson will take a look forward to what adventures could be waiting for the robotic explorers of the future.

You’ll be able to submit questions throughout the talk, and they’ll be put to the speaker in the second part of the presentation to be answered live by Ezzy.

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Join us on Thursday 25 February 2021, 7pm GMT. Click here to register and buy your ticket today.