Thursday July 18, 2019
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NASA Launches Podcast That Tracks Lander To Study Mars

The final episode will cover what happens when the team tries to land InSight on the Red Planet

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Nasa's Opportunity rover might have 'died' on Mars. Flickr

NASA has launched an eight-episode podcast series that follows the InSight mission as the robotic explorer journeys to Mars for a November 26 landing.

The first two episodes of the “On a Mission” series are now available for download, the US space agency said in a statemenet late Tuesday.

The eight-episode series follows the InSight lander as it travels hundreds of millions of miles and attempts to land on Mars on November 26.

“On a Mission” will be the first NASA podcast to track a mission during flight, through interviews with the InSight team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Episode One lays out the odds of reaching the surface safely — fewer than half of Mars missions make it.

NASA, space, red dwarf, hubble
New episodes will be released weekly as InSight gets closer to Mars. Flcikr

“When things go beautifully it looks easy, but it’s really not easy,” said Sue Smrekar, Deputy Principal Investigator for the InSight mission. “Any kind of exploration is just not easy or guaranteed – ever.”

Narrated by host and science journalist Leslie Mullen and InSight team members, each episode blends humour and captivating storytelling to dig into the journey of the lander and the people who have spent years working on it.

New episodes will be released weekly as InSight gets closer to Mars.

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The final episode will cover what happens when the team tries to land InSight on the Red Planet.

If successful, the lander will be the first robotic explorer to study the planet’s “inner space” — its crust, mantle and core — to better understand the early formation of rocky planets in our inner solar system and rocky exoplanets. (IANS)

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Incredible Full Moon Falls on 50th Anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11

The partial lunar eclipse will occur during the full moon beginning Tuesday night

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Full Moon, Anniversary, NASA
The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse known as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon," in Manaus, Brazil, Jan. 21, 2019. VOA

The last lunar eclipse of the year will take place this week, allowing stargazers from large swathes of the globe to catch a glimpse of the celestial phenomena.

The partial lunar eclipse will occur during the full moon beginning Tuesday night, and will be visible in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. The only region that will miss out on viewing the eclipse entirely is North America.

A lunar eclipse occurs when there is an alignment of the moon, the sun and the Earth. It can only happen during a full moon, because that is the only time the moon can be directly opposite of the sun in Earth’s sky.

The upcoming alignment will result in a partial lunar eclipse because the moon will be slightly askew from a direct line with Earth’s shadow.

Full Moon, Anniversary, NASA
The last lunar eclipse of the year will take place this week, allowing stargazers from large swathes of the globe to catch a glimpse of the celestial phenomena. Pixabay

This lunar eclipse will come two weeks after a total eclipse of the sun was visible over South America. This follows a typical astronomical pattern of lunar eclipses occurring within two weeks of a solar eclipse.

The last lunar eclipse took place in January 2019 and was visible from both Americas as well as parts of Europe and Africa. The next lunar eclipse will not take place until next year, however all four eclipses in 2020 will only be penumbral eclipses, which are much weaker than partial or full eclipses.

During penumbral eclipses, the moon passes through the weakest shadow cast by Earth and often does not visibly darken to the naked eye.

There won’t be another total lunar eclipse until May 2021.

Also Read- India Aborts Launch of Spacecraft Intended to Land on Far Side of Moon

Apollo anniversary

Tuesday’s lunar eclipse will be seen by stargazers at different times around the globe. Viewers in South America will be the first to see Earth’s shadow touch the moon’s surface when the moon is rising in the sky around sunset July 16, while watchers in Asia and Australia will see the moon in eclipse as it sets around sunrise July 17.

Interestingly, this celestial event falls on the anniversary of another lunar happening: July 16 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 rocket launch, which first landed humans on the moon. (VOA)