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The Weather Instrument of Perseverance: MEDA

In this article, we continue introducing the instruments carried by the Mars rover Perseverance with MEDA. MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) is capable of making weather forecasts by measuring temperature, humidity, and wind, and it can also measure the amount and size of dust particles in the Martian atmosphere.

The prevalence of dust in the Martian atmosphere makes it crucial to understand how dust behaves at different times and under various conditions for weather forecasting. MEDA attempts to understand dust cycles and weather conditions on Mars using its temperature sensors, radiation and dust sensor, relative humidity sensor, thermal infrared sensors, wind sensors, and pressure sensors. All of these sensors are controlled by the Instrument Control Unit (ICU) inside the rover body. Consuming up to 17 watts of power, MEDA is located in the midsection of Perseverance and weighs approximately 5.5 kg. Throughout its mission duration, MEDA records data from all sensors at a pace and frequency configured based on resource availability. Systematically taking measurements, MEDA becomes active every hour, records data, and then enters sleep mode independently of Perseverance’s operations. Principal Investigator Jose A. Rodriguez Manfredi stated the following about MEDA: “MEDA will help prepare for human exploration by providing daily weather reports and information on radiation and wind patterns on Mars.” To learn about the current weather conditions on Mars, you can use the following link:

NASA Will Launch 3 Rockets During The Solar Eclipse

NASA Will Launch 3 Rockets During The Solar Eclipse NASA announced that as part of the APEP project, three sounding rockets will be launched into the atmosphere during the eclipse. The aim of these launches, which will take place on April 8, is to observe changes in the atmosphere. The sounding rockets will be sent to the ionosphere layer. This is because the ionosphere layer contains enough ions and free electrons to reflect electromagnetic waves.

The solar eclipse will occur between 14:06 and 16:33 local time. It is estimated that about 81% of the sunlight will be blocked during the eclipse at the location of the facility. The peak of the eclipse will occur at 15:33. NASA will launch the rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility at three different times. The first launch will be 45 minutes before the eclipse begins; the second launch will be during the eclipse; and the last one will be 45 minutes after the eclipse ends. Scientists believe that the sudden interruption of sunlight could temporarily disrupt telecommunication systems on Earth due to its effect on the ionosphere. When the rockets reach the ionosphere, they will measure the behavior of loaded and neutral particles as well as magnetic and electric fields with the help of the instruments they carry. Aroh Barjatya, the mission manager, stated: “The ionosphere is a region that reflects and scatters radio signals. Satellite communication is also affected during signal transmission. Understanding the ionosphere is very important for developing models that will allow us to predict problems that may occur here and to ensure that things go smoothly in our world, which is increasingly dependent on communication systems.”

This Year’s Nova Explosion Will Be Visible to the Naked Eye

NASA has announced that a nova explosion set to occur by September will be visible for about a week as bright as a new star as seen from Earth, much like the Pole Star. The star explosion, which will take place in the Milky Way Galaxy, will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere. Jonathan Blazek, an assistant professor of physics at Northeastern University in the United States, stated that this is not a new star and will only be bright enough to be seen from within the star system. A supernova explosion is the complete destruction of a star’s core due to collapse. A nova explosion, on the other hand, occurs on the surface of a star and leads to the ejection of materials into space without destroying the star. Such an explosion in a star system containing a white dwarf and a red giant last occurred in 1946. In systems where two stars are very close, like T Coronae Borealis, material from the red giant is continuously deposited onto the surface of the white dwarf. The pressure and heat generated over time eventually trigger the explosion. The nova explosion in the star system named T Coronae Borealis, located approximately 3,000 light-years away from Earth, occurs every 80 years, making it an experience that one may witness only once in a lifetime.Bradley Schaefer, who works in physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University, likened this explosion to a hydrogen bomb detonating in space, indicating that what will be visible from Earth is essentially a fireball resulting from it. Jonathan Blazek also stated, “Since the white dwarf is much smaller and much denser, it mostly forms a small disk of hydrogen and perhaps some helium on its surface. As it accumulates enough, it actually ignites. It’s not exactly a burning like fire; it’s a thermonuclear burning and involves hydrogen undergoing fusion reactions.”

What Will Happen in the Sky in April?

Solar Eclipse Regions

In this article, we will examine the celestial events that will occur in April along with their dates. April 8 Total Solar Eclipse The Moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth in North America, completely covering the Sun’s face. NASA stated that in areas where the Moon blocks sunlight, the sky will darken, resembling dawn or dusk. Torreon, Mexico will experience the longest eclipse, lasting 4 minutes and 28 seconds. In other regions, it is expected to last mostly 3.5-4 minutes.

April 21 Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Visible to the Naked Eye The Australian National Space Agency (NSC) stated that Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, also known as the Devil’s Comet, which completes its orbit once every 71 years, can be seen with the naked eye once or twice in an average human lifespan. NSC indicated that the comet will be at its brightest on April 21, suggesting that in the coming weeks, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks could become visible to the naked eye. April 21 – 23 Lyrids Meteor Shower The annual Lyrids meteor shower will begin on April 15 and peak on the night of April 21. This year, due to cloudy weather and the presence of the Moon, there may be more light in the sky, which could negatively affect visibility. If you are in an area without these adverse conditions, you may see 10-15 meteors per hour. The meteor shower can be observed from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but it is expected to be much more active in the north. April 23 Pink Full Moon The first full moon of spring in the Northern Hemisphere will peak on April 23. For the best view, you can watch its rise just above the horizon. The full moon in April is called the Pink Moon, named after the spring flowers Phlox subulata, which bloom in the early months of spring in eastern North America. Therefore, the Moon will not actually be pink in color. To observe all of these phenomena, it is preferable to go to a dark area away from city lights and wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness for about half an hour.

This Week in Our Art Corner

In this video, which includes all spacecraft sent to Mars from past to present, you can get information about the landing dates and current status of the spacecraft.