Mars

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

It won't be long after the start of a new year when Western New York astronomy buffs can enjoy the first of a few special events that will take place in the sky.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

After seven minutes of high anxiety - attempting to touch down a billion-dollar spacecraft on another planet after slowing it down several thousands of miles per hour can do that to your nerves - NASA's latest Mars spacecraft signaled its safe touchdown on the Red Planet. Now, InSight prepares to get to work learning more about the planet by scanning below its surface. A local astronomer says if there's water to be found on Mars, underground is where you'll find it.


courtesy University at Buffalo

A team of five student engineers from the University at Buffalo will travel to Virginia to present their proposal for an important piece of a future Mars mission. The UB team is one of four finalists challenged with designing an inflatable heat shield that could protect tons of equipment, as well as a human crew.


NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA's announcement that they have evidence of still-existing liquid water on Mars raised eyebrows Monday, as well as renewed hopes that life might still be possible on the Red Planet. A local expert says the best chance of finding it there is by digging deeper.


photo from NASA website

David Mitchell, a 1980 graduate of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, serves as NASA's lead project manager for  the MAVEN mission, which recently made its way into an orbit around Mars. Mitchell took time last week to share some insights with WBFO News.