10 Things for the Week of June 8-14
5 June 2014
Summer is just about here and it is time for summer blockbusters, celebrations and amusement. We have a little bit of it all for you in this week's edition of 10 Things.
June 8th is the anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Cassini (1625). Cassini discovered the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings. This division is the largest gap in the rings and measures 2,920 miles (4,700 km) wide.
(The Cassini mission is named in honor of this 17th century astronomer.)
Donald Duck, the original angry bird, made his debut 80 years ago Monday, June 9th.
Having a home in Florida makes it easy for Donald and his friend Mickey to have been on hand to welcome quite a few astronauts on their safe return home.
Speaking of angry birds and human spaceflight ... you do know that NASA is looking to send astronauts to an asteroid in the 2020s? And this last Thursday, Angry Birds unveiled its latest update: Beak Impact, a new astronomical struggle that blends the excitement of the world's most popular mobile gaming application with the science, technology and information surrounding the agency's future missions into deep space.
Tuesday, June 10th is the 5th anniversary of the KAGUYA spacecraft's (a Japanese mission) planned impact on the moon. This impact was observed by telescopes based on the Earth.
The primary objective of KAGUYA was a global survey of the moon, as well as to obtain data on elemental abundance, mineralogical composition, topography, geology, gravity and the lunar and solar-terrestrial plasma environments.
It's been 10 years since the Cassini spacecraft flew by one of Saturn's most intriguing moons: Phoebe. On June 11, 2004, Cassini flew within about 1,285 miles (2,068 km) of the dark moon.
5. PHONE HOME
32 years ago on June 11th, the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was released in theaters.
Yes, it is true, we have yet to find life elsewhere in our solar system, but our spacecraft phone home all the time. Remember we talked about forms of communication back in January?
On Tuesday, June 10th, the moon will occult Saturn. An occultation is a celestial event in which a larger body covers up a distant object. On Tuesday, the moon will completely block out the planet Saturn.
And speaking of the moon ... this week is also the anniversary of the birth of American musical composer and song writer Cole Porter (June 9, 1891). Porter wrote a number songs about the moon: Silver Moon, Moon Man, Wait for the Moon, and When The Summer Moon Comes 'Long
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will celebrate 70 years of being called JPL on Friday, June 13th.
Last month, as part of the Theodore von Kármán lecture series, there was a lecture titled: Putting the 'P' in JPL -- The Past, Present and Future of Propulsion at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Click on the link below to view a recording of the lecture.
8. PIONEER 10
Friday, June 13th is the 31st anniversary of Pioneer 10 passing the planet Neptune's orbit (1983).
Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to fly through the asteroid belt, the first to fly close to Jupiter and the first to cross Neptune's orbit on a course to leave our solar system.
Up until February 17, 1998 (when Voyager 1 went farther), Pioneer 10 was the most distant human-made object.
9. FLAG DAY
June 14th is Flag Day, so be sure to put yours out on Saturday. Check out the images below for some images of the American flag on the moon.
10. ROLLER COASTER
It has been 130 years since the opening of the first amusement park roller coaster in America. (This coaster went only six miles per hour.) Named the Switchback Railway, it opened in Coney Island in June of 1884.
Want to design your own roller coaster? Check out Sum of all Thrills.
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