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Essential Pittsburgh: NASA Celebrates Martian New Year in Mars, PA

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European Space Agency
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flickr

Happy Martian New Year. That's right it's New Year's Day on Mars and it's being celebrated today and throughout this weekend in Mars, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. The goal of this three day celebration of the Red Planet is to encourage young people to pursue careers that will enable NASA's journey to Mars. Mars expert Jim Green who is NASA's Director of Planetary Science is giving a talk as part of this weekend's events and joins us by phone.

Green explains how exactly the Martian New Year works, and the reason we won’t be celebrating it next year:

“Mars is further away from the sun than we are so it has a longer year. In fact, there are more than 670 earth days to equal one year on mars. … So we won’t be celebrating this again for another two years.” -Jim Green

Also, the first Allegheny SolarFest will run completely on solar power and explore Western PA's options for renewable energy. Darren Miller takes on the Sub 3 Marathon on Lake Erie.

Allegheny SolarFest (starts at 18:07)

This Saturday the borough of Millvale will host the first Allegheny SolarFest, a special summer festival that will be 100% powered by solar energy and will call attention to the untapped potential of solar as a clean power source. Joining us to preview the Fest are SUNWPA president Sharon Pillar and lead organizer Greg Winks. 

Sub Marathon Man (starts at 29:19)

We first met our guest Darren Miller as attempted to become the first American man to complete the Ocean’s Seven Challenge. Having accomplished that mission Darren has set his sights on a new challenge. This Saturday he will attempt the Sub 3 Marathon at Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie. Like his other athletic endeavors this challenge is to raise money and awareness for charity. Also taking part in the conversation is Miller’s fiance, marathon swimmer, Alli DeFrancesco.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here