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10 Things for the Week of March 16-22
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of March 16-22
14 March 2014

Spring is in the air, and we would never have been able to pass out of our atmosphere to other worlds without the Father of Modern Rocketry. Really -- you can forget about visiting Mercury, or anywhere else.

Also, this week you may want to get involved with a workshop or conference, or two (there are many), or perhaps enter the Asteroid Hunters contest.

P.S. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

1. LIQUID-FUELED

Robert Goddard, who is known as the father of modern rocketry, launched his first liquid-fueled rocket 88 years ago this week (March 16th).

Goddard wrote once of an inspiration he had as a child while pruning a cherry tree: "I imagined how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars. I was a different boy when I descended the tree from when I ascended, for existence at last seemed very purposive."

2. MARS GEOLOGY

On Sunday there will be a workshop in Texas regarding Mars, titled: "Mars Geology: The 3rd Dimension."

3. MERCURY

On Sunday, March 16th, it will have been 39 years (1975) since Mariner 10 flew by the planet Mercury for the third time. Mariner 10 first encountered the innermost planet a year earlier on March 29th (1974).

Did you know that Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to reach one planet by using the gravity of another planet (in this case, Venus) to alter its speed and trajectory. This has become an extremely important technique.

4. SECOND TIME AROUND

On St. Patrick's Day three years ago (2011), MESSENGER entered orbit at Mercury, becoming the second in spacecraft history to visit this world, but the first to orbit it.

5. WORKSHOP

On March 17th it will also be the MESSENGER Visible and Infrared Spectrograph (VIRS) Data Users' Workshop in Texas.

6. POT O' GOLD

It is St. Patrick's Day on March 17th. Check out the links below for some fun imagery from the Cassini mission.

7. ASTEROID HUNTER

Be an asteroid hunter and you could take part in a $35,000 dollar prize purse. Contest opens Monday, March 17th.

NASA's Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.

8. VERNAL EQUINOX

March 20th is the spring equinox, which means that night and day will be about equal on Thursday. After this, day will become longer than the night until the summer solstice on June 21st.

9. LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE

The latest discoveries from deep space will be shared at the 45th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC).

10. HUBBLE

In Rome, Italy from March 17 - 20 there will be a conference, titled: "Science with the Hubble Space Telescope IV -- Looking to the Future"


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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: 18 Mar 2014