New Milford: McCarthy Observatory holds virtual view of the stars

NEW MILFORD — At the John J. McCarthy Observatory’s virtual Second Saturday Stars & Special Event on Jan. 9, a preview of 2021 missions and milestones in space exploration was provided by volunteer Bill Cloutier.

The presentation included an overview of the three spacecraft launched last summer and are now approaching Mars.

Several countries are also planning to return to the Moon in 2021 with robotic missions, including Russia, India and the United States.

The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Gale crater since its landing in 2012. It will be soon joined on the surface by the Perseverance rover when it lands in Jezero crater on Feb. 18 to search for signs of ancient life.

Volunteer Marc Polansky recounted the history of SpaceX’s Starship development program and the results of the latest test flight from its Cameron County, Texas, launch pad.

The event was free and open to the public. It can be viewed on the observatory’s YouTube channel.

The observatory, on the campus of New Milford High School on Route 7, is an educational and research facility. It’s a nonprofit charitable organization with all proceeds going directly towards the observatory’s mission of furthering science appreciation and literacy in the community and beyond.

For more information and to access its monthly newsletter, visit mccarthyobservatory.org.