National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
10 Things for the Week of March 10 - 16
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of March 10 - 16
8 March 2013

Autumn Burdick
This week's look at upcoming events and
stories from around our solar system is
brought to you by guest blogger Autumn Burdick.









Albert Einstein once said that, "[t]he most beautiful experience we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science ..."

Mysteries, questions and the search for answers drive technology. This week you will not only be able to view a comet (a space object that was once considered very mysterious), but also remember many anniversaries of discoveries, inventions and people that have changed the way we interact with our world and other worlds within our solar system.

1. COMET PANSTARRS

Comet PANSTARRS will grace the sunset skies this week. It is indeterminate whether this comet will make a good show, but comets can be quite the showstoppers. So go on out at sunset and look to the western horizon for a view of this space wonder. (March 10th, 12th and 13th are all listed as good days to view the comet.)

2. COMET HALLEY

A true showstopper visited Earth back in 1986. Comet Halley returns to Earth every 76 years, and on March 14th we will celebrate 27 years since the Giotto spacecraft encountered and imaged this comet. Giotto, Europe's first deep space mission, was a resounding success. Giotto survived an intense battering as it closed in to a then-record of 605 km (376 miles) from the comet's core and sent back about 2,000 images.

3. TECHNOLOGY TESTER

Monday, March 11th marks the 53rd anniversary of the launch of Pioneer 5. Pioneer 5 was a technology test mission, which was also sent to confirm scientists' theories of an interplanetary magnetic field. It was the findings of Pioneer 5 that led to the success of Pioneers 10 and 11 -- the first missions to the outer solar system, and the first spacecraft to visit gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.

4. PLANET PREDICTOR

March 11th is also the 202nd birthday of Urbain Le Verrier (1811-1877). Le Verrier was the mathematician responsible for the discovery of Neptune by predicting the position of the planet. Neptune was the first planet located through mathematical predictions rather than through regular observations of the sky.

"The creative principle [of science] resides in mathematics." -- Albert Einstein

5. TELESCOPIC FINDING

Wednesday, March 13th is the 232nd anniversary of William Herschel's discovery of the planet Uranus: Uranus was the first planet found with the help of a telescope.

6. E = MC2

Thursday, March 14th would have been the 134th birthday of Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Where would we be without Albert Einstein and his theories of relativity? It was through the genius of Einstein that we now have TVs, lasers, GPS systems, remote controls, digital cameras, solar cells and so much more.

7. HiRISE TO THE OCCASION

Speaking of cameras, it has been seven years (Sunday, March 10th) since Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, began orbiting Mars. The beautiful pictures that HiRISE sends back to Earth have revolutionized our view of the dusty red planet to one of varied landscapes, features and colors.

8. GRAVITATIONAL ASSIST

On Saturday, March 16th, it will have been 38 years since Mariner 10 flew by innermost planet Mercury. Gravity may not be responsible for people falling in love, but it was responsible for getting pioneering spacecraft Mariner 10 to the planet Mercury. Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to reach one planet by using the gravity of another planet (in this case, Venus) to alter its speed and trajectory. This has become an extremely important technique.

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." -- Albert Einstein

9. ROCKETS

Robert Goddard, who is known as the father of modern rocketry (and who was a contemporary of Albert Einstein), launched his first liquid fueled rocket 87 years ago this week (March 16th).

"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." -- Robert Goddard

10. FUN FACT

In 1876 (on March 10th) the first telephone call was placed by its inventor Alexander Graham Bell.


Read More by Autumn Burdick

About: Autumn Burdick
Photo of Autumn Burdick
Autumn is the science writer who enjoys bringing this weekly look at upcoming events and stories from around our solar system to you. Follow SSE on Twitter: @NASASolarSystem
Read More by Autumn Burdick
Arrow pointing right 2014
Arrow pointing right 2013
December November October
September August July
June May April
March February January
Arrow pointing right 2012
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 9 Mar 2013