A Lost Opportunity

Mars Opportunity has not been heard from since June 10th, 2018, after a global dust storm swept across the Martian surface, most likely covering the solar panels with a layer of red dirt, too thick for NASA’s attempts to clear it away before Opportunity’s on-board batteries drained  against the cold winter months.

 

Today, NASA has announced it will stop trying to reach Opportunity–a time to say goodbye.

One of my favorite images from Opportunity was the tracks lit left behind, leading back to the horizon.  The things Opportunity saw…. Postcards wishing you were here.

Rover tracks disappear toward the horizon like the wake of a ship across the desolate sea of sand between the craters Endurance and Victoria on the Meridiani Plains. Opportunity took the image while stuck in the sand ripple dubbed Purgatory for over a month. This panorama (only partly shown here) was named Rub Al Khali after the “Empty Quarter” in the Arabian Desert.
Image Number: WEB13648-2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

Fifteen years ago, Opportunity landed on Mars and was only anticipated to last ninety days.  Congratulations to all the NASA engineers and staff, to all those who contributed the financials, to all of us on Earth who followed this journey.

To see the raw Images taken by Opportunity over the past 15 years, click here.

So long for now Opportunity, we will see you when we get there.  And one day, when all who visit and move to Mars, I am sure you will have a proper place in the Mars Space Museum among your peers told for and lost, who will have made our visit and stay possible.

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Total Lunar Eclipse of 2019

Call it a Blood Moon or Wolf Moon Or Super Moon, the point is, this January 20th, when the Moon is in perigee (closest approach to the Earth), we will also experience a total lunar eclipse. Weird things happen then….

On Jan 20th, 2019, the United States and Canada, with the eastern seaboard having the best view, will see the eclipse of the moon completely immersed in Earth’s shadow. The duration of totality will be longer than normal (1 hour and 2 minutes). The more south you can get the higher in the sky the eclipse will be (NYC about 70 degree, South Florida 80 degrees, Cuba 90 degrees from the horizon).

The reason this is called a Blood moon is that just prior to the totality, the umbra of Earths shadow casts a penny bronze ochre hue on the surface of the moon. The term Blood Moon is simply marketing hype….. Regardless, I saw the eclipse three years ago and it was awesome, but that eclipse occurred just before sunrise…. this one is occurring at midnight (east coast) and will be awesomer-er-er. Don’t miss this event….. Look up folks!

See the chart below for the time. Easterners, you all need to stay up past midnight, a small sacrifice for front row seats….

This event can be read in its entirety on SPACE.COM