10 Things for the Week of Jan. 20 - 26
18 January 2013
Your weekly look at upcoming events and stories from around our solar system:
1. ACE SPACECRAFT
Fifteen years ago Monday (Jan 21) NASA's ACE spacecraft began near-real-time solar wind information and other details about the environment of our solar system. ACE stands for Advanced Composition Explorer.
2. NEAR-EARTH ASTEROIDS
Two asteroids will come within one astronomical unit (150 million km) of Earth on Sunday and Monday (Jan. 20-21). Newly-discovered asteroid 2013 AT72 will pass within about 37 million km on Sunday. Asteroid 2011 TO follows the next day with a closest approach of about 129 million km. Neither pose a threat to life on Earth.
3. WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Other more distant asteroids making their closest approach to Earth this week include 9622 Terryjones, 4457 van Gogh and 88292 Bora-Bora. Asteroids often have unusual and unique names due to the fact that the International Astronomical Union is a little less strict when it comes to naming asteroids.
4. LOVELY LUNA AND JUPITER
Jupiter's been dazzling skywatchers all month as the brightest, easiest planet to spot in the night sky. Between Sunday and Wednesday (Jan. 20-23), the moon will pass from Jupiter's right to its left. Jupiter and the moon will appear nice and close to each other on Monday (Jan. 21).
5. GOOD NIGHT, PIONEER
It's been 10 years (Jan. 22) since we last heard from Pioneer 10 (pictured above), the groundbreaking mission that opened up the outer solar system to exploration. Pioneer 10 beamed back data from deep space for more than 30 years before its radioisotope power source dwindled.
6. LESSER-KNOWN APOLLO
Tuesday (Jan. 22) marks the first test of the Apollo lunar module during the unmanned Apollo 5 mission. The tests were a success.
7. (MAYBE THIS WEEK) FIRST DRILL
The Curiosity rover is easing up to a Martian rock that may soon be the first target of its drilling tool. The rock chosen for drilling is called "John Klein" in tribute to former Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager John W. Klein, who died in 2011.
8. TEST YOUR PUZZLING PROWESS
We've added timers to our popular space puzzles. See if you can get your initials on the high score board.
9. CITIZEN SCIENCE
Help answer serious scientific questions and provide vital data to the astronomical community by becoming a citizen scientist. Citizen scientists have discovered thousands of objects, including nebulas, supernovas and gamma ray bursts. NASA supports several resources which may be of interest to amateur and professional scientists alike.
10. INAUGURATION ACTIVITIES
NASA is participating in the inauguration of President Obama on Monday (Jan. 21) with several events in Washington, D.C., including an open house, a star party and a NASA Social; exhibits on the National Mall and at NASA Headquarters; and two floats and marchers in the inaugural parade.
Read More by Phil Davis