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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Aug 3, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor of the Planetary Society and self-described “Planetary Evangelist,” and Googler Scott Maxwell, a former JPL engineer, engage in a delightful discussion about her new book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job. Taking over four years to write, this book is an in-depth exploration of the incredible design and engineering of the most complex robot ever built by NASA, including all of the obstacles and solutions that one would expect from such a groundbreaking project.

This book has been described as “destined to be the final word on the detailed story behind this amazing, epic and continuing scientific adventure.” Ashwin Vasavada, chief scientist on the Curiosity mission, said, “If the Curiosity rover had a glove compartment, you’d find this book inside of it.”

Listen to their scintillating discussion about all the details you’ve ever wanted to know -- why there are holes in the wheels, for example, and what those holes “spell” on the ground when they leave their mark on the dusty Mars surface. Or learn how Curiosity takes its own selfies, and how the picture for the cover of the book was created. After hearing this discussion, you’ll find that you’re more curious about Curiosity than ever before!

Get the book here:

Visit to watch the video.

Download the full transcript HERE!