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10 Things for the Week of October 13 - 19
Columnist: The Authors

10 Things for the Week of October 13 - 19
17 October 2013

It's good to be back. The shutdown's over now and we have a lot to share.

In this week's 10 Things ... (or should we say 17) get a re-cap of what happened during the government shutdown. Plus, look forward to a penumbral lunar eclipse tomorrow night.


On Tuesday, October 1st, NASA celebrated its 55th birthday.


Also on October 1st, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter imaged comet ISON from Mars orbit.


LADEE arrived at the moon on October 6th. LADEE is investigating the moon's thin exosphere and the lunar dust environment.


October 7th was the 54th anniversary of the first photograph of the far-side of the moon. This image was taken by Russia's Luna 3 spacecraft.


On October 9th, Juno flew past the Earth on its way to Jupiter. Juno will arrive at Jupiter in 2016.


Hubble imaged comet ISON on October 9th -- it's still intact. Comet ISON will have its closest approach to the sun on November 28th. ISON will then make its closest approach to the Earth on December 26th. (Talk about a holiday comet.)


Check out the Eyes on the Solar System module for comet ISON.


October 10th was the 167th anniversary of the discovery of Neptune's icy moon, Triton. Triton, the largest of Neptune's moons, is one of the coolest objects in our solar system. It is so cold that most of Triton's nitrogen is condensed as frost, giving its surface an icy sheen that reflects 70 percent of the sunlight that hits it.


The Cassini spacecraft flew by the largest moon of the Saturn system -- Titan -- on Monday, October 14th. Look for pictures of this, and past flybys, by checking out the Cassini Flyby page below.


Tuesday, October 15th marked 16 years since Cassini launched for the ringed planet and its system of moons. Originally slated for a four-year mission, Cassini surpassed expectations and is not in its first, but second mission extension.


It's been 16 years since the launch of Cassini, and come Friday, October 18th it will be 24 years since the launch of the Galileo spacecraft to the Jupiter system. Galileo was not an average launch: Galileo was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis and later was released into space. Galileo studied the Jupiter system from orbit, and was the first spacecraft to do so (Pioneer 10 and 11, and Voyager 1 and 2 were all flybys).


Friday, October 18th, is also the 46th anniversary of the release of the first successful Venus probe: Venera 4. Venera 4 was the first spacecraft to transmit data from the atmosphere of another planet, and transmitted that data for 93 minutes until, at an altitude of about 25 km, the planet's enormous atmospheric pressure crushed it.


Also concerning Venus, Venera 16 celebrated its 30th anniversary of entering orbit at this planet on October 14th. A twin of Venera 15, together they radar mapped half of Venus' northern atmosphere.


Asteroids and comets fly by the Earth at safe distances and trajectories all the time. Many of these space objects have been named, and some names you just might recognize. For example, on Thursday, October 17th, asteroid 8749 Beatles is making its closest approach to the Earth at 1.044 AU, and on Saturday, October 19th, asteroid 6470 Aldrin will have its closest approach to Earth (0.937 AU). This asteroid is named after Buzz Aldrin, who is the second person to walk on the moon.

Wondering why there are asteroids named after a band and an astronaut? Want to learn about how asteroids are named? Check out the link below. Maybe someday you will have an asteroid named for you?


Friday is usually pretty bright with the high-school football scene, but this Friday, it's going to be even brighter -- it's this month's full moon. However, keep reading -- this month's full moon will not be as bright as some.


On Friday, the moon will experience a penumbral eclipse (partial). This eclipse will be visible to viewers in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Eastern Asia. Note: This is the last lunar eclipse for 2013.


Speaking of light ... Saturday, October 19th is the 134th anniversary of Thomas Edison's demonstration of electric light. How many ways does light change the way you view your world?

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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