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10 Things for the Week of October 20 - 26
Columnist: The Authors

10 Things for the Week of October 20 - 26
18 October 2013

Space rocks. How many ways can you interpret these two words placed side by side? Certainly, you could interpret it as a compound noun. After all, there are plenty of space rocks orbiting our sun. But how about interpreting it as a statement, or an exclamation? Why not -- space is pretty rocking.

Chuck Berry, one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, just turned 87. In this week's 10 Things Blog you will read how Chuck is a part of spacecraft history, plus there's a meteor shower, two mission anniversaries and much more.


Let's start this week off right. On Sunday, October 20th: asteroid 17058 Rocknroll will make its closest approach to the Earth at a distance of 1.503 AU.


Little space rocks will be bombarding our atmosphere this Sunday and Monday.

October 20th and 21st is the peak of the Orionids meteor shower. Did you know that the particles that create this meteor shower originate from, perhaps the most famous comet in history, comet Halley? So go on out and view the Orionids -- it's a way to see Halley, which won't be coming back until 2061.


Free lecture on Wednesday: "Our Place in the Universe: Cosmology from the Ancient Greeks to Today." This lecture will be given by Michelle Thaller and is open to the public.


Thursday, October 24th, it's the 15th anniversary of the launch of Deep Space 1.

Deep Space 1 was an engineering test flight, testing such technologies as ion engines and autonomous navigation software. (Ion engines are in use on the Dawn spacecraft, which is currently on its way to visit dwarf planet Ceres. It will arrive there in 2015). During its mission, Deep Space 1 visited both a comet and an asteroid.


The word "planet" means "wandering star," and the planet Mars is quite the star these days: Curiosity and Opportunity rove its rocky red surface and several obiters circle it gathering images and data. One of those orbiters is 2001 Mars Odyssey. This Thursday marks the 12th anniversary of this spacecraft's arrival in orbit at Mars.


Look to the moon on the night of October 24th. You just might spot the planet Jupiter nearby. (About 30 minutes after moonrise Jupiter will appear.) On October 25th, Jupiter will be right above the moon.


Chuck Berry's birthday is October 18th -- he turned 87. John Lennon once said: "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'"

Voyager 1 and 2, those two far reaching spacecraft, each carry a golden record. The record contains scenes, sounds, greetings and music from the Earth. Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" is on that record. We literally have rock and roll in space.


In 1957, Chuck Berry wrote the hit single "Rock and Roll Music." Chuck also wrote "Havana Moon" in 1957. Havana Moon is on our list of "Moon Songs." Check out our newly released infographic about songs that concern the moon. Don't see your favorite? Feel free to share it with us and it could be added to our list.


Here is a sampling of moon songs from our list that are having 40th, 30th and 10th anniversaries this year:

  • "Dance with the Moonlight" -- Performed by Genesis (1973)
  • "Dreamy Old New England Moon" -- Performed by Dean Martin (1973)
  • "Midnight Moonlight" -- Performed by The Grateful Dead (1973)
  • "Moonlight Shadow" -- Performed by Mike Oldfield (1983)
  • "My Personal Moon" -- Performed by Madison Park (2003)
  • "Sail to the Moon" -- Performed by Radiohead (2003)


P.S. If you are in Jasper, Canada this coming weekend, there is a sky festival for you.

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This weekly look at upcoming events and stories is brought to you by the NASA solar system exploration communications team. Join the conversation: @NASASolarSystem
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Last Updated: 18 Oct 2013