It was 2nd April. Orak, Verum, Scorch, and Felix alighted the Tempus Machine.
“Orak, what are we doing on Mars?” Scorch said. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. It is also known as the Red Planet. It has two moons – Phobos and Deimos.
“We are here to see the solar eclipse!” Orak declared.
The Four Mysticals roamed around the planet and found the perfect spot, right next to Perseverance, NASA’s rover. On their frequent visits to the Red Planet, the four Mysticals had befriended the space robot. Orak handed everyone special solar eclipse viewing glasses so their eyes wouldn’t hurt when they looked at the Sun.
NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Rover is a space exploration device. It is designed to explore the solid surface of a planet. In 2020, NASA sent the rover Perseverance to explore Mars.
“Perseverance is going to capture the solar eclipse and send it to the astronomers on Earth,” Orak informed.
“Orak, what is a solar eclipse?” Verum said.
“A solar eclipse occurs when a planet’s moon passes between the Sun and the planet. The moon prevents Sun’s light from reaching the planet.
On Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when Earth’s Moon passes between the Earth and Sun. Similarly, one of the Mars’ moons Phobos is going to pass between Mars and the Sun,” Orak answered.
“I think it’s starting!” Felix said. He was right. Perseverance had turned on its special next-generation Mastcam-Z camera to record the phenomenon. The four Mysticals watched quietly as a Phobos-shaped dark shadow passed over the Sun.
“It’s over already? The solar eclipse lasted only around 40 seconds!” Scorch said.
“And the shadow on the Sun looked like a potato,” Felix giggled.
“Yes, it is often said Phobos is Mars’ potato-shaped moon,” Orak smiled and added, “Phobos is 157 times smaller than Earth’s Moon. So, the solar eclipse on Mars was shorter than the solar eclipses on Earth.”
“It looked so beautiful though!” Verum was in awe. Felix, Scorch, and Orak nodded their heads in agreement!
“Now that Perseverance has recorded the eclipse and sent it to Earth, how will it help humans?” Scorch said.
“It will help scientists understand Phobos’ orbit around Mars. It will also help them understand how Phobos’ gravity (a force that pulls objects toward each other) affects the surface of the planet,” Orak answered.
After saying goodbye to Perseverance, the four Mysticals boarded Orak’s tempus machine and returned to MysticLand.