Jim Inman (Photo: Spectrum.ieee.org)
If you thought it was cold in Indiana this week, try vacationing on Mars – it’s -81 degrees there this time of year.
After a 293 million-mile trek across space, the newest Mars rover – Perseverance – is slated to land on the red planet at 3:55 p.m. Eastern Thursday.
The rover launched in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. While the travel to the fourth planet has been smooth, the final descent to the planet is much more challenging.
This seven-minute process – from 3:48 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. Eastern – is known as the “seven minutes of terror.” Because signals take 11 minutes to reach Earth, human input in the event of a mishap is impossible – Perseverance is on her own.
The nail-biting entry is made even more tense by the fact that once mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California get the first confirmation of entry, Perseverance will have already landed – or crashed – in real-time. The unavoidable signal delay, however, is a short hurdle for teams that have been waiting for this moment for a decade.
Perseverance will join four other rovers on the planet – Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity. Its target: Jezero Crater, a harsh surface feature that was likely once a deep lake fed by rivers of running water.
On Monday Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced her intention to retire.
Lawson, a Republican, released a statement saying “Like many Hoosiers, 2020 took a toll on me. “I am resigning so I can focus on my health and my family. I will work with Governor Holcomb to ensure our next Secretary of State is up to the task and has the tools and resources to hit the ground running.”
She noted that a formal resignation will be submitted to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb once a successor is named to the position and is ready to serve Indiana.
Lawson was appointed to the roll in 2012 by former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Lawson was then elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018. She would have been up for reelection again in 2022.
Prior to being elected secretary of state, Lawson served in the Indiana Senate for 16 years. She was selected as the first woman to serve as Majority Floor Leader in the Indiana Senate in 2006