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News and Commentary

Dear readers of Interplanetary Life –     The latest space mission to go to Mars is the Mars InSight mission which landed on the red planet last November 26th.  The lander with its seismometer and heat flow probe will provide information on its seismology, temperature among other things and answer key questions about early formation of rocky planets in our solar system. And to make things more interesting, the InSight lander is sending back weather information to Earth that we can see on the internet.  The weather report includes daily readings on high and low temperatures each day, high and low wind speed statistics, wind direction and atmospheric pressure readings.  Just go to: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/weather/ for the Mars weather report.  As time goes on, we should learn a lot about Mars with InSight.  Looking to the future, there is a new mission in the works – NASA’s Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx).  As scientists are always trying to learn more about how the universe evolved, this mission should help them in their quest for more knowledge.  Hopefully, such a mission might answer some questions about life in the universe as it will help determine how common the ingredients for life are in our galaxy’s planetary systems.  This mission is expected to be launched in 2023 so it isn’t too far into the future.  We hope everything goes well with this mission.   

 Websites of Interest

 

1. A NASA Exoplanet Exploration website called Life and Death of a Planetary System provides much information on how solar systems can form, their lives throughout billions of years and eventual death of these systems.  To visit this website, go to: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/life-and-death/intro

 

2. The Southwest Research Institute with its headquarters in San Antonio, Texas is a non-profit organization that does Research and Development in many areas.  This organization has a website devoted to Space Science.  To go there, click on: https://www.swri.org/industries/space-research-technology

 

3. The Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics located in Cambridge, MA is a combination of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) which provides much research in the field of astronomy.  To learn more about their activities, discoveries and latest news releases,  visit their website at: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/

 

4. The Mars InSight Lander which has been on Mars since late November is now taking daily weather measurements which include temperature, wind speed and pressure readings with highs and lows for each day.  To see these weather readings, go to: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/weather/