Archive for May 7, 2020

05/07/2020 – Ephemeris – JPL and NASA preparing a return to Mars via rover and helicopter

May 7, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, May 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 8:55, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:22. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 9:26 this evening.

The Endurance Mars Rover will be launched on or after July 17th. To land on Mars February 18th next year. It has until August 5th to launch. That’s a 20 day launch window. Miss that and it’s a wait of approximately 26 months for the next launch window when the Earth and Mars get into the proper relative positions again. The target of the rover is Jezero crater at the edge of a large Martian feature that can be seen in small telescopes called Syrtis Major. Syrtis Major is cooler sounding than what it means in Latin… The Great Swamp*. Anyway, Jezero crater itself is named after a Bosnian town in 2007 by the International Astronomical Union which named interesting features on Mars after earthly towns. What’s so interesting about Jezero? The answer tomorrow.

* There’s no water there.  It’s actually a volcanic plain, maybe a low shield volcano.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Mars 2020 "Endurance" Rover

Artist rendition of the Mars 2020 “Endurance” Rover. Credit NASA.

Mars Helicopter "Ingenuity"

Artist’s concept of the Mars Helicopter “Ingenuity”. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Jezero Crater

Jezero Crater on a map by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft (1996-2006). Colors code by altitude (blue-low to red-high). Click on the image to enlarge. I’ll have a closer look tomorrow. Credit NASA/JPL with my labels.