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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Rover Celebrates Fourth Year on Mars

Bob Eklund Looking Up

Bob Eklund
Looking Up

This month, NASA’s Curiosity rover celebrates four years on the Red Planet. The rover, with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) aboard, hit the dusty Martian surface on August 6, 2012, and began its mission of finding evidence about whether ancient Mars offered environmental conditions conducive to microbial life. By March 2013, NASA reported that MSL had achieved its primary objective after scientists found evidence of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, phosphorous and carbon—all essential chemical elements for supporting living organisms. Now the mission, which was scheduled to end this year, has been given a two-year extension.

As part of the fourth-year celebration, NASA has released a smartphone game, which lets users navigate their own MSL across the rugged terrain of Mars searching for water. On their mobile devices, players challenge themselves to navigate and balance the rover while earning points along the way. For more information about the Mars Rover game, visit: mars.nasa.gov/gamee-rover

Here at home, we have good views of Mars in our southern sky, along with four other bright planets. Venus, now appearing as the “evening star,” is just above the southwest horizon after sunset. To the upper left of Venus, look for Mercury, Jupiter, orange Mars, and golden Saturn (in that order).

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