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10 Things for the Week of December 29, 2013 - January 4, 2014
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of December 29, 2013 - January 4, 2014
28 December 2013

A very Happy New Year to you. We are looking forward and back in this week's edition of 10 Things.

1. FLYBY

ESA's Mars Express will fly by Mars' moon Phobos on December 29th. This will be the closest flyby of this Martian moon yet.

2. EPOXI

Sunday is also the fifth anniversary of the EPOXI mission's Earth flyby.

3. NEW YEAR'S EVE

Considering the past year and looking forward to the one ahead? NASA looked back at 2013 -- quite a few important events took place this year.

4. HAPPY 2014

Wednesday is New Year's Day. Check out the links below for some of what is in store for 2014.

5. HOME

Check out our homepage for a special New Year's Doodle.

6. STARDUST

January 2nd is the 10th anniversary of the Stardust mission's flyby of comet Wild 2. Stardust gathered samples from this comet during its flyby, which were later returned to Earth. Stardust was the first mission to return samples from a comet to Earth.

7. LUNA 1

January 2nd is also the 55th anniversary of the Luna 1 launch (part of the Soviet Union's Ye-1 series). Luna 1 was the first spacecraft to escape Earth's gravity, fly past the moon and enter orbit around the sun.

8. METEOR SHOWER

This Friday night and Saturday morning it's the Quadrantid meteor shower peak. A thin crescent moon will set at dusk, which means ideal dark skies to view these meteors. During their peak it is possible to see about 80 meteors per hour. Quadrantids are also known for their fireballs -- you just might see one.

9. SPIRIT LANDING

Come Saturday, it's been 10 years since Spirit landed on the Red Planet.

Spirit explored Mars for a little over six years, which far exceeded its original 92 day mission. On May 25, 2011, NASA ended efforts to contact the marooned rover and declared the mission complete. The rover had been silent since March 2010. However, its twin rover, Opportunity, is still going ...

10. SUNSHINE

This Saturday, January 4th the Earth will be at perihelion. This means that the Earth will be at its closest to the sun during the course of its orbit. So, if Saturday is the day we are closest to the sun shouldn't it be pretty hot then? Not necessarily. Check out the link below to learn more about the Earth at perihelion.


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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 Dec 2013