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The Lompoc Vision

“Good News You Can Use.”

10

“Mars InSight Landing”

by Rebecca Ross

The Lompoc Music Association will hold its annual music scholarship auditions on February 2, 2019, at 10:00 a.m at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ at 3346

Constellation Road in Vandenberg Village.

Money scholarships are awarded to serious students of music who are at least 14 years of age and not yet 19 years of age and who reside within the boundaries of the Lompoc

Unified School District.

Application forms are available at the counselors and music department offices of Lompoc High School and Cabrillo High School, at the Lompoc School of Music at 601 E. Ocean,

and at the Lompoc Library at 501 E. North Avenue. Completed applications must arrive by January 30, 2019, at the mailbox of the Lompoc Music Association, P. O. Box 734, Lom-

poc, CA. 93438.

Scholarship auditions will be held beginning at 10:00 a.m. Applicants will be notified of their scheduled time to audition, from 10:00 a.m. onward.

Accompanists of applicants must be real people. Accompaniment by recorded device is not acceptable.

Both vocalists and instrumentalists may audition. First place scholarship winner last year was Josiah Frias on classical guitar; second place winner was Maree Baird on piano; and

third place winner was Johnny Kassis on piano.

For more information, contact Jean Jacoby at 805-736-8713.

Lompoc Music Association Scholarship Auditions Announced

L

ompoc may be dubbed the “City of Arts and Flowers”, but we have another

important legacy as well, thanks to Vandenberg Air Force Base. VAFB (in

the slim chance you don’t already know) is the headquarters of the 30th

Space Wing that manages Department of Defense space and missile testing and

places satellites into polar orbit from the West Coast.

In May, NASA launched InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Inves-

tigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport), a robotic lander designed to study the

interior of Mars. Since all of my knowledge of space exploration comes primarily

from books and films (Apollo 13, The Martian, Astronaut Wives Club), NASA

will be my co-pilot for Rebecca’s Corner this week.

“[Our] InSight mission is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth

the ‘inner space’ of Mars: its crust, mantle and core,” NASA says. “Studying

Mars’ interior structure answers key questions about the early formation of rocky

planets in our inner solar system. After our solar system formed, convection in

Mars’ interior slowed dramatically or may have come to a complete stop, unlike

here on Earth. The interior of Mars thus preserves a record of how the core, mantle, and crust of rocky planets form.”

I will admit that I was surprised by how fasci-

nating I found all of this. What could have been

just words on a page came to life for me when

I attended one of the many viewing parties held

around the world in anticipation of the InSight

landing on November 26th. I felt a little like a

kid going on a field trip to the planetarium. And I

mean that in the best way! I was excited to learn,

excited to witness the drama surrounding the lat-

est mission to Mars.

My brother and I chose to attend the Lompoc Li-

brary’s viewing party and, as we entered the dark-

ened Grossman Gallery, were greeted by members

of the Vandenberg Amateur Astronomical Society,

various InSight materials from NASA, and a giant

screen plugged into the live feed from the Jet Pro-

pulsion Laboratory (JPL) in La Cañada Flintridge.

The room was quiet, the dozen or so guests riveted to the screen, a sense of anticipation in the air. As we waited, we

learned bit about the InSight mission like Lander details (it weighs 794 pounds, has two 7-foot solar panels, is 5’1” wide

and 19’8” long with panels deployed, and a 3D camera), information about the landing site (Elysium Planitia is “a broad,

smooth plain with about 16-32 feet of loose soil and rocks overlying ancient lava flows,” according to NASA), and other

stats (About 30 GB of data will be collected over one Martian year, or two Earth years).

In various interviews we were told that of the 17 Mars missions, 10 have crashed and that everything would have to go

perfectly for a successful landing. It was likened to shooting a basketball from the Staples Center in L.A. and swishing it

through the net at Madison Square Garden in New York. No pressure!

The Gallery was filling up and, with the exception of an excited toddler, you could hear a pin drop. We received regular

updates from Mission Control and got to watch the rows of men and women in burgundy button-ups staring intently at

their computer screens and whispering to one another. Then it was announced – five minutes to entry! Over the next 300

seconds we listened in on their headsets and heard announcements like “MarCOs have telemetry” and “InSight telemetry

via MarCO” and “Entry on my mark”, each one followed

by clapping from Mission Control, every moment one step

closer to a successful landing. We all sat on the edge of

our seats during the plasma blackout when the heat shield

reached 3000 degrees F. Once the parachute deployed and

the heat shield separated, they began counting down 300

meters, 200 meters, 80 meters, 60 meters, 50 meters, 37

meters, 30 meters, 20 meters, 17 meters. Standby touch-

down. Then those two little words: Touchdown confirmed!

Everyone watching clapped and cheered, though our cel-

ebration was nothing compared to the eruption in Mission

Control! Everyone jumped up, clapping, hugging, high-fiv-

ing, fist-bumping, hand-shaking, and breathing huge sighs

of relief. We watched as the initial cheers died down and

they all crowded around each other’s monitors waiting for

the first image of Mars to pop up. When it did there were

more cheers, more clapping. And really that was just the

beginning.

“It was flawless,” NASA’s Rob Manning said. “It was

what we hoped and imagined in our mind’s eye. InSight is

happy.”

1st ANNUAL HONEY TASTING

Get a unique chance to sample various varieties of honey

from the Central Coast.

Beekeeper Archie Mitchell will be presenting the numer-

ous types of flavors that local honey has to offer. Come join

us for the unique experience.

Saturday, January 26th

Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location: DeWees Community and Senior

Center, Room 105/106

Fees: $20.00 per person