Playing in March at the Imaginarium
Destination Mars - Friday March 3 at 7pm
NASA - and others - have their sights set on the Red Planet, and they’re building the technology to get us there! Destination Mars: The New Frontier gives audiences an up-close look at humanity’s most epic endeavor. Explore the work being done around the globe to help make the dream of getting humans to Mars a reality.
Asteroids: Mission Extreme – Friday March 3 at 8:15pm
journey 65 million years in the making to discover how asteroids are both a danger and an opportunity for those of us on planet Earth. The danger of course lies in the possibility of a cataclysmic collision; the opportunity is the crazy idea that asteroids could be stepping stones to other worlds — veritable way stations in space — allowing us to penetrate the deepest realms of the universe. The challenges are enormous, but the idea could ultimately save humankind. Explore with us the possibilities in Asteroid: Mission Extreme.
STARGAZING with Krissie Kellogg - Wednesday March 8 at 7pm
Join the ever engaging and entertaining presenter/storyteller Krissie Kellogg on the second Wednesday of each month as she takes you on a delightful tour of the constellations in the Imaginarium skies. Stay informed as the stars, planets and moon change as they move through space and learn about current events happening in the night sky as well as in space exploration! (60 min)
Cowboy Astronomer – Saturday March 25 at 1:00pm
This returning favorite is a skillfully woven tapestry of star tales and Native American legends, combined with constellation identification, star-hopping and astronomy tidbits--all told from the unique viewpoint of a cowboy astronomer, cowboy poet Baxter Black.
Larry Cat in Space – Saturday March 25 at 2:15pm
An imaginative story about an inquisitive cat who takes a trip to the Moon. With his own space suit, Larry ventures outside onto the lunar landscape. There he spots the Earth, looking a lot like the Moon did from the porch at home
Speaking of Mars - Could life have once existed on Mars, or could it still prosper there to this day?
The search for life beyond Earth is a core motivation of many missions to explore the Red Planet and in a new video, a NASA scientist takes a close look at the question driving it all: Is there life on Mars?
NASA has a number of missions in operation at the surface of Mars
that are intensely engaged in the search for traces of life. Primary among these missions are the rovers Curiosity
, which landed on Mars in 2012, and Perseverance
which set down on the Martian surface in 2021. The latter of these has been collecting cores from rocks from the Jezero Crater where minuscule traces of life may have been trapped.
This illustration sows what Jezero Crater on Mars may have once looked like in the ancient past when it was covered in water. The region is a dried up delta now. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
“We're just now getting instruments onto the Martian surface that can help us understand these potentially habitable places and we can ask deeper questions about the potential for habitability in those rock cores," Heather Graham, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a 1-minute video released on Dec. 28
. "We've been looking for life on Mars for a long time."
Swirling among the planets in our solar system are pieces of rocky matter called asteroids. Too small to be considered planets, asteroids are a ‘hangover’ from the early formation of the solar system, making them around 4.6 billion years old.
There are three types of asteroids
— the materials that make up their composition determine them.
C-type, or those that contain high amounts of carbon, are the most common — making up about 75 percent of asteroids. These gray asteroids are typically made of clay, minerals and silicate rocks. M-types contain high amounts of metals like iron and nickel, which most likely contributes to their red color. S-types can range from red to green in color and are mostly made up of silicate materials as well as iron and nickel.
As these rocks travel around the sun, they can collide with planets, create falling stars and form large belts. Here are four amazing facts about asteroids that you may not have known.
1. They can create a big impact
Asteroids collide with planets. Not all are extinction level events, but some asteroids have impacted Earth in massive ways. About 66 million years ago, an asteroid the size of a mountain hit the coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula — creating the Chicxulub crater. The impact and its damage changed life on Earth
and is believed to have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs
. The collision triggered tsunamis and fires, along with enormous amounts of dust and soot. The sulfur from vaporized rock acidified the oceans and blocked part of the sun, reducing the amount of light to reach Earth. This inhibited plant growth, leading to a larger problem in the food chain. There have been other asteroid impact events, the biggest ones
ranging in time from 35 million to more than two billion years ago.
2. They form the asteroid belt
Most known asteroids are within the asteroid belt
, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. According to NASA
, the currently known asteroid count exceeds 1.1 million. They vary in
size, ranging from as small as dust particles, to boulders to thousands of feet in diameter. Yet the total collective mass of all the asteroids is still less than the mass of Earth’s Moon.
Despite the fact that there are millions (if not more) asteroids in the belt, they are spaced far apart — approximately 600,000 miles. Because of that, spacecraft can fly through the belt without colliding with any asteroids. In 1973, A space probe called Pioneer 10, was the first to traverse the asteroid belt.
3. They can become planets
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt and is responsible for one-third of the belt’s entire mass. The Italian priest and astronomer, Giuseppe Piazzi
, discovered Ceres in 1801, and experts reclassified it from an asteroid to a dwarf planet in 2006
A dwarf planet is a celestial body that has enough mass to approximate a round shape and orbit the sun. However, they are smaller than actual planets and lack sufficient gravitational force to accumulate material within their orbits. Ceres is an icy dwarf planet with daytime temperatures sitting at about negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, it’s even colder, at an astonishing negative 225 degrees. There’s no atmosphere and one day is nine hours long. Scientists believe that Ceres may have supported life at one time.
4. They can have moons
Some asteroids are large enough to have moons. In 1993, the Galileo spacecraft discovered the first asteroid moon. Ida, an S-type asteroid, has
a moon named Dactyl. Since then, several other moons
have been discovered orbiting asteroids.
They include one named Petit-Prince which is eight-miles-wide and orbits the asteroid, Eugenia. The asteroid Pulcova also has a similar-sized moon. Based on the presence of water scientists believe that asteroid moons are created through a collision
of two asteroids. If conditions are right, a piece may be chipped off and sent into orbit. According to NASA, more than 150 asteroids have moons, and some even have two.
Find out more about Mars and Asteroids at Hokulani Imaginarium in March.
More to see in our March Sky (All times a hst)
- March 1, Conjunction of Venus-Jupiter (4 degrees apart) 6:45pm-8:45pm
- March 3, Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) 8:01am
- March 7, Full Moon 2:40am (micro Full Moon -smallest and dimmest)
- March 12, Spring Equilux (sunrise 6:41 a.m.; sunset 6:40pm)
- March 20, Vernal Equinox (first day of spring)
- March 22, Conjunction of Moon-Jupiter (3.8 degrees apart 7:00pm-7:45pm)
- March 23, Conjunction of Moon-Venus (3.6 degrees apart) 7:15pm-8:30pm
- March 27 ,Conjunction of Moon-Mars (2.3 degrees apart) (7:15 pm-12:45am)
- http://aerospace.wcc.hawaii.edu/AstroCalendar/Celestial%20Events%20for%20current%20year.pdf **********************************************************