February 28, 2019
This Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, there will be plenty of opportunities(another space pun...looking at you, Mars) to view planetary movements. In the early morning of March 1 when the crescent moon will be in conjunction with Saturn, and on March 2, Venus will be in conjunction with the moon. If you wake up before dawn, you will be rewarded with a spectacular sight, with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter all very visible in the sky. View a map of how to find the planets in the predawn sky here.
As the news of the robot 'mole' on Mars is about to start its Martian dig, a revealing and promising discovery was made in the Atacama Desert in Chile. A similar rover to the Mars mole was able to dig up subsurface microbial life in the desert. This desert's climate and atmosphere is the closest we can come on Earth to replicating the cold, dry Martian land. Since any life on Mars is probably below the surface to avoid the lack of water, harsh radiation and low temperatures, this news that the rover has the ability to dig up and identify microbial life raises hopes of the people working on the mission. The adaptive microbes and their inherent patchiness, which is areas with microbes and areas without, gives hope that some sort of adaptive, patchily-spread microbe could exist on Mars. We shall see eventually.
The launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft has an 80% chance to happen on March 2. This launch will be the first launch of the uncrewed spacecraft, which is designed to fly astronauts to and from the space station. This craft is the first crew-capable spacecraft to launch from the US since 2011. SpaceX, along with Boeing, under the Commercial Crew program, could be the return of US led missions to the ISS. Stay up to date on the action here.
On February 27, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying six satellites that could become part of a set of nearly 2,000 was successfully launched from French Guiana. The satellites are owned by the British start-up OneWeb, which seeks to bring low-cost internet to all. Read more about OneWeb here.
Thank you for your time and please leave any thoughts in the comments.