NASA’s Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter are scheduled to land on the Red Planet on Feb. 18 and York University’s Allan I. Carswell Observatory is hosting a landing party the same day. The online event will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. EST or until after the landing.
Join the live online landing party via YouTube to watch the Perseverance landing, learn about Mars and hear a live discussion of what Assistant Professor Elaina Hyde of the Faculty of Science calls the final “seven minutes of terror.”
“After all these months of traveling through space, the rover and its tiny helicopter companion are almost there,” says Hyde. “If you have ever wanted to join an extra-planetary landing party from the comfort of your own home make sure to catch this event. Together, we will see if the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter safely make it to the surface.”
The Ingenuity helicopter is attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover and weighs a mere four pounds. If all goes as planned, Ingenuity will be the first helicopter to try flying on a different planet.
Several Mars-bound rockets blasted off from the surface of Earth in 2020 and all are due to arrive this year. The United Arab Emirates’ first Mars mission, an orbiter named Hope, arrived on Feb 9. Then on Feb. 10, the Tianwen-1, China’s Red Planet orbiter and lander-rover pair will arrive. The orbiter will spend several months imaging the designated landing site to prepare for touchdown (expected May 2021). The observatory will celebrate all these achievements during the landing party.
The online event will be hosted at https://www.youtube.com/user/YorkUObservatory/live.
To learn more, visit the observatory website at https://observatory.info.yorku.ca/.