Author: Anessa Quintanilla
Event Recap:
March 2021

ARCS hosted a watch party for the historic landing of the Mars Perseverance Rover which featured a pre-landing one-hour Q&A session with special guest Dr. Scott Davidoff, UX Design and Research Manager at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With over 75 attendees, the two-hour event brought together the ARCS community, which included CSUN students, faculty, and staff as well as local high schools and middle school watchers.

Courtesy of Dr. Davidoff, attendees were able to learn more about the rigorous preparation and teamwork that went into the Mars Perseverance mission. As the countdown to Perseverance’s first mark on Mars occurred, attendees shared their emotions, excitement, and celebrated the significant moment via Zoom. 

“The watch party was so much fun, and we engaged with so many people! Having Dr. Davidoff do the Q&A session was amazing. He had such great information to share and his enthusiasm is contagious. Thank you Joe Bautista, Nhut Ho, and everyone for putting it together,” said Erica Bettencourt, an ARCS student fellow majoring in Communication Design. 

While on Mars, Perseverance will be collecting soil and rock samples that will be sent back to Earth in a future NASA mission. The samples will help scientists analyze and identify possible signs of ancient life on Mars.

The Autonomy Research for STEAHM Center
The Autonomy Research Center for STEAHM (ARCS) is a NASA-sponsored, chartered, Center of Excellence. Its mission is to combine multidisciplinary, university-wide knowledge and talent from faculty, students, and NASA scientists to conduct convergence research and collaboration using increasingly autonomous systems (IA). Learn more about ARCS and ways to engage by visiting