Celebrate Astronomy Day at OMSI

On Saturday, August 5, OMSI will present a full day-into-night festival of all things celestial, with opportunities for starry-eyed guests to learn little-known facts about the universe, constellations, stars and planets. Representatives from local clubs and organizations will be on hand to answer questions, lead hands-on activities, and discuss space science until 4:00 p.m. Guests can also get a look at an inflatable life-sized model of the NASA Mars Rover, Curiosity. Doors will open later in the evening at 9:00 p.m. to offer space exploration enthusiasts a front-row seat for the scheduled 10:30 p.m. landing of the REAL Curiosity rover. Screens in the Auditorium and Planetarium will display a non-stop live feed from NASA TV.

Mars Science Laboratory is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term robotic exploration of the red planet. Curiosity will assess whether Mars ever was, or still is today, an environment able to support microbial life. Its mission is to determine the planet’s habitability.

The Curiosity rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface. It will analyze dozens of samples scooped from the soil and drilled from rocks. The planet’s climatic and geologic history is written in its rock and soil – their formation, structure, and chemical composition. The rover’s onboard laboratory will study the rocks, soil and local geologic settings in order to detect chemical building blocks of life (e.g., forms of carbon). From this Curiosity will assess what the Martian environment was like in the past.

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