Moab Happenings Archive
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DARK SKY HAPPENINGS - February 2021

Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude
109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

Perseverance Arrives on Mars
By Crystal White

 

Sunrise-Sunset
for February
(The time of sunrise and sunset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary depending upon the landscape.)
DATE SUNRISE SUNSET

Fri,Jan 1

7:35am

5:08pm

Sat,Jan 2

7:36am

5:09pm

Sun,Jan 3

7:36am

5:10pm

Mon,Jan 4

7:36am

5:11pm

Tue,Jan 5

7:36am

5:12pm

Wed,Jan 6

7:35am

5:13pm

Thu,Jan 7

7:35am

5:14pm

Fri,Jan 8

7:35am

5:15pm

Sat,Jan 9

7:35am

5:16pm

Sun,Jan 10

7:35am

5:17pm

Mon,Jan 11

7:35am

5:18pm

Tue,Jan 12

7:34am

5:19pm

Wed,Jan 13

7:34am

5:20pm

Thu,Jan 14

7:34am

5:21pm

Fri,Jan 15

7:33am

5:22pm

Sat,Jan 16

7:33am

5:23pm

Sun,Jan 17

7:32am

5:24pm

Mon,Jan 18

7:32am

5:25pm

Tue,Jan 19

7:31am

5:26pm

Wed,Jan 20

7:31am

5:27pm

Thu,Jan 21

7:30am

5:28pm

Fri,Jan 22

7:30am

5:30pm

Sat,Jan 23

7:29am

5:31pm

Sun,Jan 24

7:28am

5:32pm

Mon,Jan 25

7:28am

5:33pm

Tue,Jan 26

7:27am

5:34pm

Wed,Jan 27

7:26am

5:35pm

Thu,Jan 28

7:25am

5:36pm

Fri,Jan 29

7:25am

5:38pm

Sat,Jan 30

7:24am

5:39pm

Sun,Jan 31

7:23am

5:40pm


In the afternoon February 18th, the Mars Perseverance Rover will arrive on the surface of Mars. It all begins with “7 minutes of terror”, the time it takes for the landing spacecraft to slow the craft, safely lower the rover to the ground on a cable system and then fly away from the rover before landing on Mars, during which NASA will have no contact with the craft. After confirmation of a safe landing near the Jezero Crater, the rover’s primary mission is to find evidence of ancient life on the red planet and to prepare for human missions.

The rover will have onboard a spectrometer (SHERLOC) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) which will take high resolution microscopic imaging of Mars’ surface. A UV laser will vaporize interesting rocks for the spectrometer to analyze the chemical makeup and search for organic molecules which may hint toward ancient life.

One of my favorite instruments is the (MOXIE) Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, a product of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This instrument will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. The success of this instrument is crucial for future astronauts to produce rocket fuel for returning to Earth.

Perseverance will also have a Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL). This instrument will take high-resolution images to map the fine-scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. This is also a project from JPL.

(RIMFAX) Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment, is a ground penetrating radar that will provide incredible resolution of the geological structure below the Martian surface. It is a project from the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.

Perseverance will not be alone. A helicopter companion named Ingenuity will be joining the mission. With the thin atmosphere of Mars, flying Ingenuity will help engineers better prepare for future missions to other worlds using helicopter technology.

All of these instruments and a few not mentioned will help the rover search for proof that life once existed on Mars and pave the way for future human exploration. Good luck Perseverance!

The Moab Dark Skies was established by the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in conjunction with the National Park Service and Utah State Parks Division of Natural Resources.

MOON HAPPENINGS
Feb 11 - New Moon at 12:05 pm
Feb 19 - First Quarter at 11:47 am
Feb 27 - Full Moon at 1:17 am

 
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