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10 Things for the Week of September 29 - October 5
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of September 29 - October 5
27 September 2013

"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." -- Dr. Robert Goddard

This week, celebrate the birth of NASA, and rocket pioneer Robert Goddard. Anticipate the results of viewing comet ISON from robotic missions on and at Mars, and from a balloon high above the Earth. Plus, there are several opportunities to view the night sky yourself this week.

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NASA!

On Tuesday, October 1st, it's been 55 years.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) arguably leads the world in exploration, standing on the shoulders of a long line of explorers throughout history. Its astronauts have circled the world, walked on the moon, piloted the first winged spacecraft, and constructed the International Space Station. Its robotic spacecraft have studied Earth, visited all the planets (and soon the dwarf planet Pluto) ... continue reading, here.

2. BALLOON LAUNCH

On Monday, September 30th, BRRISON (Balloon Rapid Response for ISON) will be the first planetary science balloon to launch in 50 years. BRISSON will observe comet ISON -- and other science targets -- using a telescope carried high into the Earth's atmosphere (up to 140,000 feet) by a massive balloon.

3. NEW VIEW

Comet ISON is the "talk of the town" these days and will have its close encounter with Earth on December 26th. However, you can catch a preview of this comet on October 1st. Comet ISON will fly by the Red Planet and will be visible to not only the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, but also the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Stay tuned for images and information, by checking out our Comet ISON Toolkit.

4. THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED

Have you heard about the Asteroid Initiative? Virtually take part in a workshop about the proposed mission to capture and land on a near-Earth asteroid. The workshop starts on Monday, September 30th and goes through Wednesday, October 2nd.

5. OCTOBER SKY

The space race began when a little orbiter named Sputnik launched on October 4, 1957. This Friday marks the 56th anniversary of that launch. The basketball-sized spacecraft was the world's first artificial satellite and orbited the Earth every 98 minutes. Did you know that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created as a direct result of Sputnik?

6. ROCKET-MAN

Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry, was born on October 5, 1882. This Saturday is the 131st anniversary of his birth. It was Goddard who launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926. Check out the link below for a listing of Goddard's contributions to missilery and space flight.

7. WORLD SPACE WEEK

With two important birthdays, a Sputnik anniversary and more, no wonder it's World Space Week. World Space Week starts Friday, October 4th and continues through Thursday, October 10th.

8. CALIFORNIA DREAMING

While you are remembering the start of the space race and the creation of NASA, why not look up at the stars one October night this week? If you are in California, there are two star parties you can attend to view the cosmos. October 4-5, it's the Death Valley (Furnace Creek) Star Party. And the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Star Party is on October 6th. Check out the links below for more information about each.

9. STAR GAZING

If you are out near Atlanta, there is a star party for you to view the night sky. For a week and a day starting Sunday, September 29th, the Atlanta Astronomy Club will present the 20th Annual Peach State Star Gaze.

10. NIGHT-SKY VIEWING

Two more star parties that just might be in your area. These two are in Illinois and New Jersey and both are taking place from October 3-6.

Note: Friday, October 4th is a new moon. This means that it will be dark for good night-sky viewing.


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: 30 Sep 2013