It’s the time to start looking at the stars

March 7th, 2021 11:40 PM

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Oscar Wilde famously said: ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’

The global pandemic certainly has the world in the gutter yet with some Wildean inspiration we should peer up at the night sky and marvel at the recent Mars landing by Nasa’s Perseverance.

Over the last seven months, while most of the country has been in and out of lockdown with extreme limits on our travel, Perseverance has made an epic journey on our behalf to the red planet and has landed successfully.

While getting safely to the planet is an astonishing feat, it has started sending back extraordinary panoramic images which detail the barren Martian landscape. Furthermore, it plans to record sound on the planet with its two microphones on board.

Its purpose is to search for signs of ancient microbial life and in doing so, try to answer the age-old question about whether there was life on Mars or not.

Here, in West Cork, we are lucky to have some of the least polluted skies anywhere in the country to observe the heavens. By downloading one of many star-gazing apps, you’ll pick out Mars in seconds with just your mobile phone.

According to Nasa, Perseverance’s mission will take one Mars year, which is about 687 Earth days. Hopefully by then, we’ll all be out of the gutter.

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