September 22, 2014

Our newest Mars explorer, NASA’s Maven satellite, has successfully arrived at the red planet and begun its orbit!

It takes a very long time to travel from Earth to Mars, even at the speed that a rocket travels. We launched this satellite 10 months ago, and it has been hurtling toward Mars ever since. This weekend the satellite fired its thrusters——basically jamming on the brakes——so that it would be captured by the planet’s gravity and settle into orbit around Mars.

It all went flawlessly, and now the satellite will study Mars’ high atmosphere, collecting more data as we try to piece together the story of the history of the Martian environment—- what is there today, and how it has changed over time.

This story has captivated scientists for centuries, and I continue to be fascinated as we learn more and more about my favorite planet (other than Earth, of course!).....which reminds me of a funny story. 

 

 

My eBook PLANET MARS has been updated twice since 2010 because we are learning so much from the rovers that are studying its surface. The second update happened while our sound producer was in the studio, recording the narration for the book. My phone rang, and Dan, the producer, said: "The Curiosity Rover landed yesterday, and I’m just about to record your book. Don’t you want to add a page about Curiosity?" Of course I did. So I quickly did some research, wrote a page and found a photograph to illustrate it, and the new audio was recorded that same day. Now, THAT is what I call up-to-date!

 

 

These days I am working on a new book about Mars, which will be the third installment in my Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System series. It won’t be done til sometime next year, but I can give you a preview of the cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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