Why Does NASA Still Use Landers?

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Certainly, here's a condensed version of the show notes with five sections:

Show Notes: Found In Space - Episode: "Why Does NASA Still Send Landers?"


  • Podcast: Found In Space - Science Podcast for Kids and Teens
  • Episode Title: Why Does NASA Still Send Landers?
  • Host: Arwen Hubbard
  • Release Date: August 30, 2023
  • Episode Summary: In this episode, host Arwen explores the importance of NASA's lander missions in planetary exploration. The episode delves into the different types of robotic missions, the value of flybys, orbiters, landers, and rovers, and why NASA continues to utilize landers for studying other planets.

1. Types of Robotic Missions:

  • Introduction to the focus on robotic missions for planetary exploration.
  • Explanation of the main mission types: flybys, orbiters, landers, and rovers.

2. The Role of Lander Missions:

  • Explanation of the significance of lander missions in planetary exploration.
  • Discussion on why some early missions were flybys due to technical limitations.
  • Addressing the challenge of slowing down fast-moving crafts for orbit.

3. Importance of Gathered Data:

  • Highlighting the value of the data collected from flyby and lander missions.
  • Discussing the surprising discoveries and dispelling preconceived notions.
  • Mention of examples like New Horizons and the Kuiper Belt.

4. Rover Missions and Beyond:

  • Explanation of the capabilities and limitations of rover missions.
  • Mentioning slow mobility and remote control operation due to signal delay.
  • Introduction to Ingenuity, the drone on the Perseverance rover, and its historic flight.

5. Balancing Costs and Objectives:

  • Addressing the question of why NASA still uses landers for missions.
  • Case study of InSight on Mars and its specialized objectives.
  • Highlighting the balance between costs, complexity, and mission goals.


  • Recap of the episode's exploration of lander missions.
  • Encouragement for listeners to submit questions and topics for future episodes.
  • Farewell message, inviting listeners to stay curious and explore the universe.