There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in the next couple of weeks and months with astronomy — here and far. 

Get your calendar ready to mark down some dates. On February 18, the NASA Perseverance rover will be landing on Mars. The nearly 7-month mission from launch to entry, descent, and landing is about to come to an end. If you haven’t seen this full animation of E.DL. I’ll attach it to the end of this video in its entirety.

During entry into Mars’ thin atmosphere, the spacecraft will be traveling at about 12,000 mph. The heat shield will do the initial braking, then comes the parachute. Since the rover is so heavy, the chute will not be able to slow it down enough.

By the time the rover separates from the parachute, it will still be moving at nearly 200 mph. The final slow down will be the Skycrane technology used on the previous Curiosity mission. This will be used to further slow down the rover and eventually lower it to the surface. The entire entry, descent, and landing will take seven minutes.

The planned mission for the Perseverance rover is one Martian year on the surface. One Martian year is 687 Earth days — or 669 sols.

Remember, during its mission, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will be taking the first powered flight from another planet. The pictures from that are going to be incredible!

Two days after all of that happens on mars, NASA Wallops will be sending another payload of supplies and science to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled at 12:36 p.m. EST, Saturday, February 20. Look for a launch forecast days before liftoff.

Finally, this is an early reminder for the 2021 Annular Solar Eclipse. During Sunrise on June 10, make sure you have eclipse glasses because the moon will be partially blocking the sun along the East Coast. Remember, the next total solar eclipse in North America will be in 2024. 

Those are some of the big things to look for in the coming weeks, now here’s the full view of E.D.L for Perseverance.