Three Mars Things: China, the UAE and the US All Heading There In July

NASA Perseverance rover's search for life on Mars: What you need ...

Mars Rover Perseverance          Image: NASA

By the end of July, three countries are sending rockets carrying robots to Mars. For the U.S., its old hat — been there, done that 5 times, but for China and the United Arab Emirates, it’s their maiden voyage.   Why three launches so close together?  Because Mars passes close to the Earth in its orbit, and the next time the red planet will be this close is 2022.  Russia and the EU will go the next time around — they both delayed their launches due to COVID.  Our Rover, which is named Perseverance, will land on Mars on February 21, 2021.  The name — chosen back in March after a contest among schoolkids — seems particularly apt in hindsight.

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One Cool Thing: Rewriting the Stars In the Name of Equity and Justice

One Cool Thing: Rewriting the Stars In the Name of Equity and Justice

NASA announced this week that it would be changing the nicknames of any celestial bodies that are inappropriate such as “Eskimo Nebula” and “Siamese Twins Galaxy,” for example.  CNN reported on the decision by the agency to re-examine its use of phrases for planets, galaxies, and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to […]

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One Fragrant Thing:  Eau De Space

One Fragrant Thing: Eau De Space

Have you ever wondered what space smells like?  Now we know.  According to astronauts, it is “a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.”  Hmmm.  CNN reports that the fragrance was invented to help astronauts train for space — so that nothing about it would be surprising to them (seems like that would take […]

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Monitoring Animals From the Space Station To Improve Their Conservation

Monitoring Animals From the Space Station To Improve Their Conservation

Using inexpensive tracking technology and a large antenna installed on the International Space Station, a consortium of researchers is hoping to gather a wider range of data than they had using previous tracking technologies, including long migration patterns, allowing them to better understand how climate change and habitat loss impact wildlife. 

Why This Matters:  In addition to better understanding of wildlife migration and threats, the technology could be used for a range of other goals.

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