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Interviewing JPL Engineer Andrew Johnson on the Mars Perseverance Rover

The Outspoken Oppa Interviewing Andrew Johnson on the Perseverance Rover. Photo Credit: Noah Chun for the Outspoken Oppa.

On February 26, 2021, The Outspoken Oppa interviewed Andrew Johnson, who is a principal robotics systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was also the lead for the Lander Vision System technology on the recent JPL Mars rover called Perseverance. Directed by Luke Kim and photographed by Noah Chun and Andrew Kang, the interview showcased an in-depth look into the Mars Perseverance Rover.

Dr. Andrew Johnson has a long and elaborate career in engineering and robotics. According to NASA, “For the 2004 Mars Exploration Rover Project, Dr. Johnson was the lead algorithm developer for the Descent Image Motion Estimation Subsystem (DIMES), the first autonomous machine vision system used during planetary landing.”

He was also instrumental in the JPL Curiosity rover, where he “he designed and coded the Visual Odometry software.” During the Mars 2020 project, he was the Manager of the Solar System Exploration Guidance Navigation and Control Technologies program and the Guidance Navigation and Control Product Delivery Manager.

With a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, Johnson has done imperative research in augmenting inertial navigation and vision-guided landing systems.

In a nearly fifteen-minute interview, Dr. Johnson discussed the development process of the Lander Vision System, the collaboration with other teams to implement the software into Perseverance’s hardware, the tension of the seven minutes before the Mars rover successfully landed, and the new possibilities this rover landing brings to space exploration.

The interview was an independent production by The Outspoken Oppa, and any media associated with Dr. Johnson is used under his permission. Dr. Johnson was speaking on behalf of himself and not as a representative of JPL.

The interview will be published on the website and its YouTube channel in possibly four weeks from the time of this article’s publication.

The Outspoken Oppa thanks Dr. Andrew Johnson for his time and effort in interviewing with us, and we congratulate him on overseeing the successful landing of the Mars rover.

The Outspoken Oppa Interviewing Andrew Johnson on the Perseverance Rover. Photo Credit: Noah Chun for the Outspoken Oppa.

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