Tech Time in Space: Mars news; Earth’s new companion; NASA to crash International Space Station
There's a lot happening in space lately -- here's a roundup of what's new this week, including a tree stump of sorts on a different planet, Earth has a new companion and the International Space Station will come crashing to Earth soon.
Tech Time in Space: Metal barreling toward moon, a cosmic mystery, more
This past week has been a busy one in the space world: We’re talking about a telescope’s final destination one million miles from Earth, four tons of metal barreling toward the moon and a mystery in the cosmos that is baffling scientists.
In 1st, NASA prepares to fly helicopter on Mars
NASA is getting ready for yet another historic flight: A 4-pound helicopter is being prepared to fly on Mars. During a news briefing on Tuesday, NASA officials and engineers talked about preparations for the upcoming maiden voyage of the small helicopter, named Ingenuity. AdSee: Part of Wright brothers’ 1st airplane on NASA’s Mars chopperNASA is hoping to fly the small Ingenuity on April 8. NASA’s successfully landed its Mars Rover Perseverance on Feb. 18 this year near an ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient microscopic life. AdMore: Check out these new photos from Mars Rover ‘Perseverance’Related: Dream realized: Rochester Hills native named NASA flight director
NASA space probe spots northern lights on Jupiter
If you thought the northern lights were a rare sight for us earthlings, you may want to think again. Those beautiful colors most visible in the Arctic and Antarctic are not only found on Earth: Jupiter has northern lights, too. Northern lights here on Earth result from charged particles from the sun that interact with the earth’s magnetosphere to create that glow that we see. AdPrevious missions did not really provide a good look at the Jovian aurorae, but Juno is a polar-orbiting spacecraft, so these images are our first real deep dive into the planet’s northern lights. New revelations on Jupiter, combined with those recently discovered on Mars, have made for an interesting year of space exploration so far!
NASA uses Navajo language to name interest points on Mars
As a way to honor Native Americans -- and, particularly, a Navajo engineer on the Mars Rover Perseverance team -- NASA is naming points of interest on Mars using the Navajo language. The latest NASA rover to land on Mars is currently focusing on a rock named after the planet it’s on -- but in Navajo. The rock is called “Maaz,” which means “Mars” in the Navajo language. The Navajo engineer on the Perseverance team helped get permission and collaboration from his tribe to use the names. Listen: NASA Perseverance rover captures audio from MarsAdNASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance successfully landed on Feb. 18 near an ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient microscopic life.
NASA Rover Perseverance captures HD panorama view of Mars landing site
NASA Mars Rover Perseverance is giving a never-before-seen view of the Red Planet just days after its successful landing. With 19 cameras on board, Perseverance provides a 360-degree panorama view of Mars, visible in a new high definition image of the rover’s landing site. Check out the view in the video above from NBC News, or take a longer look in NASA’s Twitter video touring the Mars landing site below. #CountdownToMarshttps://t.co/9tpv4Vl4lV — NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 25, 2021The Mars rover successfully landed on Feb. 18 near an ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient microscopic life. AdAs NASA’s biggest and most advanced rover, Perseverance successfully tackled NASA’s smallest and trickiest target by landing in the Jezero Crater, which is a 5-by-4-mile strip on an ancient river delta full of pits, cliffs and rocks.
‘Christmas Star’ set to light up night sky on winter solstice
DETROIT – If the weather cooperates, something very special will be visible on the winter solstice this Monday night -- the “Star of Bethlehem,” also known as the “Christmas Star.”Despite the names, it’s actually not a star at all. Since Jupiter orbits the sun every 12 years and Saturn orbits the sun every 30 years, the two largest planets in the solar system don’t line up very often. The two gas giants will cross paths in the night sky on the winter solstice on Monday, Dec. 21. Though the planets are 450 million miles apart, to the naked eye, they will appear as one bright light in the sky. To view the Christmas Star, turn your gaze toward the southwest sky a little after sunset on Monday, Dec. 21.
Rare ‘Christmas Star’ to be visible for first time in 800 years on Dec. 21
With this year’s winter solstice comes more than just confirmation of our already-cold weather and ever-fleeting daylight: The rare “Christmas Star” will be visible for the first time in 800 years. Each year, Earth’s northern hemisphere enters the winter solstice on Dec. 21 -- the shortest day of the year -- officially marking the start of winter. This year, bright planets Jupiter and Saturn will align perfectly on Dec. 21 to create what is commonly called the Christmas Star or the “Star of Bethlehem.”According to NASA, Jupiter and Saturn align with one another every 20 years or so, but not nearly as close together as they will be in 2020. Experts say the Christmas Star can be seen by the unaided eye just after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020. You can see Saturn and Jupiter nearly align on Dec. 21, forming what appears to be a Christmas star.
Live stream: Total solar eclipse crosses South America on Dec. 14, 2020
This year’s only total solar eclipse will cross South American countries Chile and Argentina on Monday, Dec. 14. Watch live coverage of the eclipse beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST Monday in the video player below, courtesy of Slooh. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon is the perfect size and distance from Earth to block out the sun entirely when their orbits cross paths. A total solar eclipse will cross Chile and Argentina on Dec. 14, 2020. Another total solar eclipse is expected to cross just below Detroit in 2024.
Total solar eclipse to cross Chile, Argentina on Dec. 14, 2020
The only total solar eclipse of the year will cross South America on Monday, Dec. 14. A total solar eclipse will cross Chile and Argentina on Dec. 14, 2020. So, in those rare occurrences where the moon makes a direct path across the sun, we get a solar eclipse. Watch Slooh’s live coverage of the Dec. 14 total solar eclipse below. In 2024, a total solar eclipse will take a path quite close to Detroit.
NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grab
In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (NASA via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft crushed rocks and sent rubble flying as it briefly touched an asteroid, a strong indication that samples were collected for return to Earth, officials said Wednesday. Scientists won't know until next week how much was gathered at asteroid Bennu — they want at least a handful of the cosmic rubble. Japan has taken asteroid samples twice. ___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.
NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REX attempts to land on ancient asteroid
A NASA spacecraft is preparing to land on an asteroid Tuesday to collect a sample. Spacecraft OSIRIS-REX is descending toward an asteroid named Bennu to suck up rubble as a sample for closer study back on Earth. OSIRIS-REX descended Tuesday toward the surface of the asteroid, which is 200 million miles away. The spacecraft dropped out of orbit around asteroid Bennu right on time, beginning a 4 1/2-hour plunge to the rough, boulder-covered face of the ancient space rock. Bennu’s gravity was too low for the spacecraft to land — the asteroid is just 1,670 feet (510 meters) across.
An asteroid is on possible collision course with Earth this November: Should we be worried?
As if there weren’t enough to think about these days, now there is talk of an asteroid supposedly heading directly for Earth. The truth of the matter is, there is an asteroid, and it is headed in our general direction, but maybe not right at us. A flying space object known as 2018 VP1 is hurtling through our solar system right now, and it’s due to be in our vicinity in early November. An internet video and a few stories have created a bit of buzz for those who look for this type of information. His insights into space, asteroids and 2018 VP1 were beyond helpful.