Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happy Martian New Year!

If you were sitting on the planet Mars, you'd be celebrating a brand new year this week.

The Red Planet has a similar axial tile to or planetary home and a day that last 40 minutes longer.   But because of an eccentric orbit, it takes Mars nearly two Earth years to make on trip around the Sun.

The Curiosity rover roaming the Gale Crater in Mars' southern hemisphere over the last three years has been doing experiments and ascertaining through soil and rock sample analysis with its onboard instrumentation suite whether Mars once harbored life, and if we Earthlings could live there.

There are even people contemplating if we could actually terraform Mars so that we could comfortably live on the planet.

MARS PENNSYLVANIA SPACESHIPOn Friday, NASA will celebrate the occasion at a event for space enthusiasts in the town of Mars, PA, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.  The town of 1700 has a flying saucer sculpture in the town square, and will celebrate the occasion with a festival that has an outer space costume contest and exhibits from NASA.

And if you want to attend the next one, here's your save the date moment for it.  It's scheduled to happen May 5, 2017.

With the upcoming Pennsylvania event, NASA wishes to inspire kids to take science and technology courses.   Their goal is hopefully when NASA is ready to tackle the scientific and engineering challenges of manned missions to Mars in the 2030's and we have the political and societal will to do so, they will have a pool of qualified STEM trained people to select from.

Happy Martian New Year!  In the meantime, we'll keep looking thorough our telescopes, watching movies, reading sci-fi books with Mars as part of the plot, and contemplating if we have what it takes and the will to make that dream a reality.

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