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10 Things for the Week of May 12 - 18
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of May 12 - 18
11 May 2013

This week's look at upcoming events and stories from around our solar system is mom-themed in honor of Mother's Day (May 12). Thanks for all you do, moms.

1. SHE DESERVES RECOGNITION

Venus's beauty in the night sky inspired ancient astronomers to name it for the goddess of love and beauty. Almost all the surface features of Venus are named for amazing Earth women.

Trivia Alert: Only one spot on Venus- Maxwell Montes - is named for the man whose work in physics made surface observations of Venus possible.

2. SHE'S BEAUTIFUL

Venus returns to the evening sky this month after swinging around the sun - providing bright beauty for twilight stargazers instead of early risers. Mark your calendar: Venus will join Jupiter and Mercury in a bright triangle in the evening sky on May 26.

3. SHE WORKDS HARD

Many moms are a planetary scientists, engineers and, yes, even astronauts. Here are a couple (and places to look for more):

4. SHE'S A PATHFINDER

Mars Pathfinder's rover was named for Sojourner Truth, one of the truly great moms in history and a pathfinder in the abolition of slavery and human rights. The Sojourner rover (shown above) is the mother of all Mars rovers - Spirit and the still-roving Opportunity and the Red Planet's latest arrival, Curiosity.

5. SHE HELPS US REMEMBER

Mom has long been the cornerstone of the mnemonic to remember the order of the planets in our solar system: My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Neptune - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

6. SHE MAKES SACRIFICES

Mother and physicist Marie Curie's theories about radiation - actually coining the term radioactivity - are a cornerstone of the exploration of our solar system - from nuclear-powered spacecraft to keeping astronauts safe from harmful solar storms. She died from the effects of years of exposure to radiation.

Trivia Alert: The backup for the Sojourner Mars rover was named Marie Curie.

7. SHE BRINGS LIFE

Only one planet we know of give birth to new life every day - our own Earth. Many NASA missions are focused on seeking for signs of life both in our solar system and beyond..

  • Curiosity (Mars)
  • Cassini (Saturn's Moons Titan and Enceladus)
  • Kepler (Seeking habitable planets beyond our solar system)
  • Galileo (Found signs of a possible subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa)

8. SHE'S INSPIRATIONAL

"As a leader, sometimes, you have to have a big vision for what might seem to be the impossible. And you've got to believe it to achieve it. If you can visualize it in your head, it can happen. I know this, because my mother told me."

9. SHE'S WATCHFUL

Earth protects us with her magnetic field just like moms everywhere watch over their young.

10. SHE'S FIRST

Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, but Dr. Anna Fisher was the first mother in space.


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
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Last Updated: 11 May 2013