AstroTalk Episode February 19, 2018

500th Sol

4:00pm - 4:55pm

The Mars Solar powered Opportunity Rover has just finished its 5000th sol on Mars. A "SOL" is a Martian day, and it is 2 hours longer than an Earth day. A Martian year is also 2 Earth years. The Rover is explo9ring the rim of the Endeavour Crater, an area known as the Perseverance Valley. Scientists have noted a series of stripes on the rocks there, and are unsure as what the origins of the stripes are. On its 5000th Martian sunrise, Opportunity will see the Sun rise over the basin's eastern rim, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) away. Perseverance Valley is a shallow channel incised from the rim's crest of the crater's floor. Opportunity has returned about 225,000 images, and they are available to the public. NASA is also set to launch the TESS Sattelite from Cape Canaveral Florida, after February 38, 2018. TESS is an exoplanet hunter. TESS will monitor the entire sky, and the 200,00 closest stars to Earth. TESS works by monitoring the dip in the light intensity when an exoplanet transits in front of its host star. TESS will work in colloboration with the upcoming James Webb Telescope, in an attempt to examine the atmospheres of, and to search for life on newly discovered exoplanets.