10 Things for the Week of February 9 - 15
7 February 2014
Forget "Likes." There is a lot to love this week. P.S. Happy Valentine's Day.
1. NEAR TO YOU
On February 14th it's been 14 years (How about that?) since the NEAR spacecraft entered orbit at asteroid Eros. NEAR was the first spacecraft to orbit and make a soft landing on an asteroid.
2. EVEN CLOSER
One year (and two days less) later (February 12, 2001) the NEAR spacecraft made the first soft landing on the surface of an asteroid (Eros). (Later this year, the Rosetta mission will become the first spacecraft to orbit and land on a comet.)
3. HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
How big is home? Is it where you live, your state, your country, your continent, your world? How about your solar system?
Voyager 1 turned its cameras towards the sun on Valentine's Day in 1990 to snap a picture (actually it took several, which were then pieced together) of all the planets in the solar system -- a family portrait. This mosaic of the solar system was the first time that we saw the solar system from the outside.
Saturday, February 15th is the 450th anniversary of Galileo Galilei's birth. Galileo discovered four moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus and more.
5. SUMMER LOVING
We may be in the deep of winter here on Earth, but Mars will experience its summer solstice come Saturday (February 15th). Learn more about planetary seasons in the links below
6. I <3 MARS
Mars can be quite lovely. Check out the links below for some images of Mars that are perfect for the holiday.
7. YOU SEND ME
Did I hear "hearts?" Here is an image of a comet particle that is decidedly heart-shaped and it happened to be discovered on no other day then on Valentine's Day 2006.
(It was the Stardust mission that gathered these comet samples (the first and only to do so) from comet Wild 2 in 2004. And by the way, Stardust just celebrated its 15th anniversary since launch on Friday, February 7th.)
After its successful encounter with comet Wild 2, Stardust was retargeted to study comet Tempel 1. Guess what? Stardust made this flyby on Valentine's Day 2011.
9. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, DARLING
The Deep Space Network turned 50 at the end of last year (December 24, 2013). On Thursday and Friday (February 13th and 14th) a special free lecture titled "The History and Future of Space Communications -- Celebrating 50 Years of the NASA Deep Space" will be given at two locations.
10. GOTTA LOVE THIS
Come Valentine's Day 2015, we will be only a few weeks away from Dawn's encounter with dwarf planet Ceres.
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