Armstrong Museum hosts NASA engineer for February speaker series


WAPAKONETA — The Armstrong Air & Space Museum will “persevere” with their 2021 speaker series, hosting another informative online presentation highlighting the upcoming NASA Mars landing of the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter on the Red Planet on Feb. 18.

Lance Foster, aerospace engineer from the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, will be giving a preview of this ambitious mission, highlighting its exciting landing and sharing the important contributions to the mission and Mars exploration made here in Ohio by NASA Glenn. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast free to the public via Facebook Live.

“Many may not realize the critical role Ohio has played in Mars exploration,” Dante Centuori, executive director of the museum, said. “The airbag landing system for Pathfinder, and the Spirit and Opportunity rovers were tested in the large vacuum chamber at the Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky. The parachute systems for Curiosity and now Perseverance were tested in supersonic wind tunnels at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The road to Mars starts in Ohio.”

Born and raised on the South side of Chicago, Foster is a graduate of Florida A&M University, receiving his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and later his M.S. degree with a focus on Computational Fluid Mechanics. Foster began work at NASA Glenn Research Center in 2002 as a research aerospace engineer in the Inlets and Nozzles Branch. His work focuses on hypersonic propulsion. He is the former national president of the National Technical Association, America’s oldest minority engineering and technical society. Foster can also be frequently seen speaking to urban youth in Cleveland-area schools.

“Having a NASA engineer who worked on the project give us an in-depth preview of the mission and the scientific contributions made by the Buckeye State is quite an honor,” Experience Coordinator Greg Brown said. “While the Perseverance rover may look similar to its older counterpart Curiosity, keep in mind that this is the most sophisticated machine ever sent to the Martian surface. Along with having the first Martian Helicopter Ingenuity, this is a very exciting mission that will put us even closer to understanding the very complex history of the Red Planet.”

For more information on Mars or the Perseverance mission, visit NASA’s website at mars.nasa.gov. For more information on the Armstrong Museum speaker series event, visit the museum’s website at www.armstrongmuseum.org or call the museum at 419-738-8811.