NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: What are some skywatching highlights in May 2021?  NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history on another planet & More

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: What are some skywatching highlights in May 2021?  NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history on another planet & More

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

What are some skywatching highlights in May 2021?   

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter to Begin New Demonstration Phase

In a First, Scientists Map Particle-Laden Rivers in the Sky

NASA Sets Briefing to Discuss Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Next Steps

With Goals Met, NASA to Push Envelope With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA Receives Six 2021 Webby Award Nominations

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Flies Faster, Farther on Third Flight

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Logs Second Successful Flight

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Extracts First Oxygen From Red Planet

NASA to Participate in Tabletop Exercise Simulating Asteroid Impact

Astronomers Release New All-Sky Map of Milky Way’s Outer Reaches

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight

Video: NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Successfully Completes First Flight


JPL News – Month in Review  Inbox

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory <jplnewsroom@jpl.nasa.gov> 
Fri, Apr 30, 7:04 PM (9 hours ago)
MONTH IN REVIEW – Part1
What’s Up – May 2021
What are some skywatching highlights in May 2021? Beginning mid-May, find all four inner planets (including Earth!) near the western horizon after sunset. And on May 26, a supermoon total eclipse.
› Watch nowhttps://www.jpl.nasa.gov/videos/whats-up-may-2021?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nasajpl&utm_content=monthly20210430-31

What are some skywatching highlights in May 2021?

Beginning mid-May, find all four inner planets (including Earth!) near the western horizon after sunset. And on May 26, a supermoon total eclipse.

Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/whats-up-skywatching-tips-from-nasa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Transcript:

What’s Up for May? This month, a rocky planet round-up, and a super blood Moon eclipse!

Beginning mid-May, if you can find a clear view toward the western horizon, you’ll have an opportunity to see all four of the rocky, inner planets of our solar system at the same time, with your own eyes. Starting around May 14th, cast your gaze to the west about half an hour after sunset, local time to see if you can spot Mercury, Venus, and Mars. (And well, Earth is kind of hard to miss.)

To see near the horizon, you need an unobstructed view – free of nearby trees and buildings. Some of the best places for this are the shores of lakes or the beach, open plains, or high up on a mountain or tall building.

In addition to the planets, from around the 14th through the 17th, the crescent Moon joins the party for a lovely planetary tableau. Now, Venus will be really low in the sky. (It’ll be easier to observe on its own later in the summer.) But for now, take advantage of this opportunity to observe all of the inner planets in a single view.

May 26 brings a total lunar eclipse. Over several hours, the Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, causing it to darken and usually become reddish in color. The red color comes from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere – a ring of light created by all the sunrises and sunsets happening around our planet at that time Because of the reddish color, a lunar eclipse is often called a “blood moon.” Just how red it will look is hard to predict, but dust in the atmosphere can have an effect. (And keep in mind there have been a couple of prominent volcanic eruptions recently.)

Lunar eclipses take place when the Moon is full, and this full Moon happens when the Moon is also near its closest point to Earth in its orbit, often called a “supermoon.”

Unlike solar eclipses, which you should never look at, it’s safe to view lunar eclipses with your eyes. And unlike solar eclipses, which tend to have a narrower viewing path, lunar eclipses are at least partly visible anywhere on the planet’s night side.

Now, eclipses happen at the same moment no matter where you are on Earth, but what time your clock reads during the eclipse depends, of course, on your time zone. The best viewing for this eclipse is in the Pacific Rim – that’s the western parts of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and Eastern Asia. For the U.S., the best viewing will be in Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states.

For the Eastern U.S., the eclipse begins for you during dawn twilight. You may be able to observe the first part of the eclipse as the Moon just starts to darken, but the Moon will be near or on the horizon as Earth’s shadow begins to cover it. The farther west you are, the more of the eclipse you’ll be able to see before the Moon sets that morning. Those in the western half of the country will be able to see almost the entire eclipse.

So if you’re in the path of this eclipse, check your local times for the best viewing near you. And if you’re in the U.S., be prepared to get up early if you want to see this rare celestial event: a super blood moon eclipse.

Here are the phases of the Moon for May.

You can catch up on all of NASA’s missions to explore the solar system and beyond at nasa.gov. I’m Preston Dyches from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and that’s What’s Up for this month.

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter to Begin New Demonstration Phase
The Red Planet rotorcraft will shift focus from proving flight is possible on Mars to demonstrating flight operations that future aerial craft could utilize.
› Read the full story

In a First, Scientists Map Particle-Laden Rivers in the Sky
Windy regions high in the atmosphere can transport pollutants like dust or soot thousands of miles around the world and disrupt everyday life for thousands of people.
› Read the full story
NASA Sets Briefing to Discuss Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Next Steps
With three successful flights in the logbook, Ingenuity has demonstrated it is ready for more.
› Read the full story
With Goals Met, NASA to Push Envelope With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
The Red Planet rotorcraft will extend its range, speed, and flight duration on Flight Four.
› Read the full story
NASA Receives Six 2021 Webby Award Nominations
The nominations are the highest honor in online communications. Public voting is open through May 7.
› Read the full story
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Flies Faster, Farther on Third Flight
The craft’s April 25 flight was conducted at speeds and distances beyond what had ever been previously demonstrated, even in testing on Earth.
› Read the full story
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Logs Second Successful Flight
The small rotorcraft’s horizons were expanded on its second flight.
› Read the full story
NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Extracts First Oxygen From Red Planet
The milestone, which the MOXIE instrument achieved by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, points the way to future human exploration of the Red Planet.
› Read the full story
NASA to Participate in Tabletop Exercise Simulating Asteroid Impact
JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies will lead the hypothetical impact                              scenario to see how international agencies respond to an actual impact prediction.
› Read the full story
Astronomers Release New All-Sky Map of Milky Way’s Outer Reaches
The highlight of the new chart is a wake of stars, stirred up by a small galaxy set to collide with the Milky Way. The map could also offer a new test of dark matter theories.
› Read the full story
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight
The small rotorcraft made history, hovering above Jezero Crater, demonstrating that powered, controlled flight on another planet is possible.
› Read the full story
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Successfully Completes First Flight

Video: NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Successfully Completes First Flight
The Ingenuity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California determined that the flight was successful after receiving data from both the helicopter and the Perseverance Mars rover.
› Watch now

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/videos/nasas-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-successfully-completes-first-flight?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nasajpl&utm_content=monthly20210430-31

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet on April 19, 2021. The Ingenuity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California determined that the flight was successful after receiving data from both the helicopter and the Perseverance Mars rover.

Ingenuity is a technology demonstration. The 19-inch-tall Ingenuity Mars Helicopter contains no science instruments. Instead, the 4-pound rotorcraft will help determine whether future explorations on Mars could be conducted from the air.

Perseverance touched down at Octavia E. Butler Landing with Ingenuity attached to its belly on Feb. 18. The helicopter was deployed to the surface of Jezero Crater on April 3.

For more information on the Ingenuity, visit : https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Transcript:

[Marina Jurica] Earlier today, Ingenuity should have autonomously performed its first flight attempt on Mars. Now, the team is ready to receive the data that will tell them whether we’ve made history.

[VOCA] This is downlink. We are beginning to see data products.

[VOCA] Rotor motors appear healthy, all actuators appear healthy.

[VOCA] Ingenuity is reporting having performed spin up, take off, climb, hover, descent, landing, touchdown and spin down.

[VOCA] Altimeter data confirmed that Ingenuity has performed its first flight.

[cheers, clapping]

[VOCA] First flight of a powered aircraft on another planet.

[cheers, clapping]

[MiMi Aung] We can now say human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet. Let’s get back to work and more flights! Congratulations!

[cheering]

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The shadow of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen in this animated GIF composed of images taken by its black-and-white navigation camera during the rotocraft’s third flight, on April 25, 2021.

This is the third color image taken by NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter. It was snapped on the helicopter’s second flight, on April 22, 2021, from an altitude of about 17 feet (5.2 meters). Tracks made by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover can be seen as well.

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter can be seen hovering during its third flight on April 25, 2021, as seen by the left Navigation Camera aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover.

The downward-looking navigation camera aboard NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took this image of the rotorcraft’s shadow on the surface of Jezero Crater during helicopter’s second experimental test flight on April 22, 2021. The helicopter’s navigation camera autonomously tracks the ground during flight.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages this technology demonstration project for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA’s Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ and nasa.gov/perseverance

Mission: Mars Helicoptor

Target: Mars

Spacecraft: Ingenuity

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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