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10 Things for the Week of February 9 - 15
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

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.

4. HEAVENLY

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.)

8. RENDEZVOUS

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.


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: 7 Feb 2014