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Lot: For Christian Legrand, at the Nuit des étoiles in Saint-Daunès, “Walking on Mars is not for tomorrow! »

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The 32nd Nights of the Stars will take place on Saturday August 6 in Saint-Daunès and Sunday August 7 at the Moulin de Boisse, in Sainte-Alauzie. This is the 5th year that astronomer Christian Legrand has been a guest of the Amicale Sainte-Alauzienne. The organizers of the astronomy club of Gigouzac will be present, equipped with telescopes.

Speaker, columnist at Astrosurf Magazine, Christian Legrand is putting the finishing touches, with his accomplice Patrick Chevalley, to the 8th version of the “Virtual Atlas of the Moon” software started in 2002 and downloaded 1.9 million times. He tells us about the theme of these Star Nights in Saint-Daunès and Sainte-Alauzie (August 6 and 7): exploration.

What will those curious about the sky see over the next weekend?

We will see the Moon with its seas, its reliefs, its craters, Saturn and its rings, Jupiter surrounded by its moons, the Milky Way. We will observe double stars, nebulae, star clusters, galaxies. And then the constellations: Andromeda, Pegasus, Cassiopeia and Perseus, Scorpio and Sagittarius… and the famous showers of shooting stars.

Where is the Artemis program which plans to send men to the Moon again?

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have set up the first mission of the Artemis I program, with a launch scheduled for August 29 and the placing of the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit. The Artemis II mission must bring a crew of astronauts to lunar orbit in 2024, before returning to Earth. Then, by 2025, Artemis III will drop a crew on the surface of the Moon, near the poles where water is present in the form of ice.

The objective is also to carry out further studies and to explore the geological riches of the Moon, in particular the helium 3 necessary for nuclear fusion reactors. The Chinese are almost ready too. On the other hand, the Russians have fallen behind.

Will we ever walk on Mars?

It’s not for tomorrow, despite Elon Musk’s staggering plans to colonize Mars by sending a million people there by 2050! The two American rovers Curiosity and Perseverance study the geology of the planet, in particular the role played by water, and look for potential traces of past life. The Ingenuity helicopter is a success. He made more than thirty flights and helped improve Perseverance’s research.

Despite a very thin atmosphere, we now know that we can fly to Mars and expand the scope of exploration. A rocket to bring the samples back to Earth could be ready in 2030.