Thursday, August 2, 2012

Curiosity Rover Landing Aug 5, 2012

Celebrate the Landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover!
The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover will be landing in Gale Crater on Mars at 10:31pm PT / 11:31pm MT on August 5 / 12:31am CT / 1:31am ET on August 6! 

Curiosity is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability."  Determining past habitability on Mars gives NASA and the scientific community a better understanding of whether life could have existed on the red planet and, if it could have existed, an idea of where to look for it in the future.  The Mars Science Laboratory rover will act as a robot geologist while it is on the surface of Mars.  The science instruments it carries are state-of-the-art tools for acquiring information about the geology, atmosphere, environmental conditions, and potential biosignatures on Mars.  The one-ton MINI-Cooper-sized vehicle is the largest rover ever sent to land on the surface of another planet.

There are a number of organizations hosting landing events; a map of locations is available at .  For those of you in the Houston area, the Lunar and Planetary Institute is hosting a free public event with hands-on activities, lectures, and more; information is at and a flyer is at
Join us Sunday, August 5 - Monday August 6
8:00pm - 2:00am
Explorers of all ages are invited to join us for a pajama party with hands-on activities, scientist presentations, and viewing through telescopes (weather permitting) to watch the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover on the red planet!

Get resources to help you celebrate this important mission milestone from these NASA websites:
  •  Resources, recent and archived videos, updates and news, images, podcasts, and more can all be found here!

  • MSL pages:  Get the latest about the rover and its onboard laboratory through news, images, and videos.  Find out where the rover is now, and follow Curiosity on Twitter and Facebook!

  • Solar System Exploration’s Curiosity: A Big Rover on a Bold Mission website:  Videos, press kits and fact sheets, links to relevant Mars and NASA websites, social media, images, interactives, and resources for teachers and students are all available through this page.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Monday, July 30, 2012

Space Weather News for July 28, 2012

SOLAR FLARES: New sunspot AR1532 is crackling with M-class solar flares, including a brief but intense M6-flare on July 28th.  So far none of the eruptions has been Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the active region turns toward our planet. Check for updates.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society