NASA to land on Mars, Indian Amateurs Astronomers collaborate in celebration

The Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi (AAAD) in collaboration with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Nehru Planetarium is organising a public Mars watch to celebrate the landing of NASA’s Curiosity Rover in the Gale Crater on Mars.

AAAD is setting up a number of telescopes in the lawns of Nehru Planetarium on August 5, 2012 , 7PM onwards to observe Mars and to celebrate the human endeavor to reach our neighboring planet Mars. This observation is open to general public. A live webcast of this observation at New Delhi will be available on NASA’s website

Getting Curiosity to the surface of Mars will not be easy. During a critical period lasting 7 minutes, the MSL spacecraft carrying Curiosity must slow down from about 13,200 mph (about 5,900 meters per second) to allow the rover to land on the surface at about 1.7 mph (three-fourths of a meter per second). For the landing to succeed, hundreds of events will need to go right, many with split-second timing. All are controlled autonomously by the spacecraft.

In the first several weeks after landing, JPL mission controllers will put the rover through a series of checkouts and activities to characterize its performance on Mars while gradually ramping up scientific investigations. Curiosity then will begin investigating whether an area with a wet history inside Mars’ Gale Crater ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

The mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Curiosity was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

Mission Facts:

Time of Mars landing: 05:31 Aug. 6 Universal Time plus or minus a minute. This is Earth-received time, which includes one-way light time for radio signal to reach Earth from Mars. The landing will be at about 3 p.m. local time at the Mars landing site.
Landing site: 4.6 degrees south latitude, 137.4 degrees east longitude, near base of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater
Earth–Mars distance on landing day: 248 million kilometers
One-way radio transit time, Mars to Earth, on landing day: 13.8 minutes
Total distance of travel, Earth to Mars: 567 million kilometers
Primary mission: One Martian year (98 weeks)
Expected near-surface atmospheric temperatures at landing site during primary mission: minus 90 C to zero C

For Further Info:
+91-9990224091, Raghu Kalra

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