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More Than A Name: Mars Borough Celebrates NASA's InSight Mission To The Red Planet

This artist's concept depicts NASA's InSight lander after it has deployed its instruments on the Martian surface. A version of the illustration depicts the smooth, flat ground that dominates InSight’s landing ellipse in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars";

Mars, Pennsylvania wasn't named after the Red Planet, but it's fully embracing those celestial connections. 

Mars is celebrating with almost as much fervor as NASA scientists Monday as the InSight Mission craft lands on Planet Mars. Mayor Greg Hartung and Missy Gralish, communications coordinator for the Planet Mars New Year Celebration, join NASA chief scientist Jim Green to talk about the mission and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's unique relationship with a small Pennsylvania town. 

Credit Autumn House Press
Autumn House Press
Homestead native Robert Gibb is the author of seven books of poetry. Among his awards are the National Poetry Series, two Poetry Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, The Wildwood Poetry Prize, and the Devil’s Millhopper Chapbook Prize.

Elsewhere in the program, Robert Gibb is a lauded poet who finds inspiration in the history, nature and culture around western Pennsylvania. He explores what draws him to write about the steel, shale and grit of the industrial revolution.

Marian Lien, executive director of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, says Squirrel Hill has changed a lot in the last 45 years, but its residents remain committed to creating a vibrant and diverse community for all. She credits the neighborhood’s people for much of its closeness and livability.

And following the midterm elections, Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation will have nine Democrats and nine Republicans. The Caucus’Mike Wereschagin reports that despite GOP rancor over the new state Supreme Court-ordered map, conservatives still hold a firm advantage in the new map. He explains the efficiency gap and how it works.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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