10/17/2016 – Ephemeris – Europe’s ExoMars satellite and lander will reach Mars Tomorrow
Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 18th. The Sun will rise at 8:02. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 6:52. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 9:07 this evening.
You’ve probably haven’t heard of the ExoMars mission before or even recently. That’s the way Mars missions go, due to their long cruise phase. It was launched by the Europeans and Russians back in March. ExoMars is an orbiter with an attached lander. The lander named Schiaparelli after the famed 19th century astronomer, separated from the Trace Gas Orbiter two days ago to land on Mars. A few hours later the orbiter made a thruster burn to miss Mars and not follow the lander into Mars’ atmosphere. The lander will hit Mars’ atmosphere at about 10:52 a.m. tomorrow, with landing 5 minutes later. The Schiaparelli lander will operate on batteries only with a lifetime of a few days. It will take a few images as it lands, but will not take images from the surface.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla’s blog post showing the ExoMars Mars arrival timeline: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2016/10140937-exomars-timeline.html