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10 Things for the Week of May 18-24
Columnist: Autumn Burdick

10 Things for the Week of May 18-24
16 May 2014

What makes you happy? Would a new and possibly plentiful meteor shower do it? Well, we have one for you and more in this week's edition of 10 Things.

1. SHOWSTOPPER

This has got to go first -- could be quite a showstopper:

With a potential for 200 meteors seen per hour, the possible new meteor shower -- named the May Camelopardalids -- could wow stargazers the night/morning of May23/24. Even the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks each August and is considered to be the best meteor shower of the year, only displays 100 meteors per hour.

(Rumor has it that this shower could surprise us and become a meteor storm. Meteor storms are defined as having at least 1,000 meteors seen per hour.)

Best views will occur in North America since Earth's encounter with this meteor stream takes place during the dark hours for viewers living there. These meteors will radiate out from the vicinity of the North Star. Best time to look will be between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. PDT.

Note: This meteor shower could also turn out to be a dud, but here's to hoping ...

2. REHEARSAL

On May 18th it will be 45 years since Apollo 10 launched for the moon. This mission did everything Apollo 11 would do only two months later, except -- of course -- land on the moon. (Apollo 11 was the first mission to land humans on the moon).

3. PERFORMANCE

Beginning Monday May 19th, university level students will take part in NASA's Fifth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition. The competition ends Friday.

Students will design and build a mining robot that can traverse a simulated Martian terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit it into a bin all within 10 minutes.

Check out the video link below to view 2013's show.

4. HIGHER AND DEEPER

Tuesday, May 20th is the 36th anniversary of Pioneer Venus' launch for the planet Venus. Pioneer Venus 1 was the first mission to map Venus' surface. There, the spacecraft found a mountain 2 km (about one mile) higher than Mt. Everest and a canyon about 1.1 km (about 2/3 of a mile) deeper than the Grand Canyon.

5. WORKSHOP

Speaking of Venus ... this Monday through Wednesday there will be a workshop titled Venus Exploration Targets in Houston, Texas. Check out the link below for details.

6. PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

On May 22nd and 23rd, as part of the Theodore von Kármán lecture series, there will be a lecture titled: Putting the 'P' in JPL -- The Past, Present and Future of Propulsion at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

7. DEFLECTION

Also, on May 23rd the twice monthly Asteroid Grand Challenge virtual seminar series will present a seminar titled NEA Deflection Strategies. Dan Mazanek of NASA Langley will present. The seminar, which starts at 8 a.m. PDT, will consist of a 40 minute talk followed by a 20 minute question and answer section.

8. FESTIVAL

Dark skies, mountain views. Going to Big Bear City's (California) Starlight Festival could be just the place to view this week's new meteor shower. The festival includes safe sun viewing during the day, and sky observing with amateur astronomers during the night -- and its free. Festival runs from May 24th-25th.

9. EXPOLSIVE

On May 18th it will have been 34 years since Mt. St. Helens erupted in the state of Washington.

10. VOLCANISM

Later this month (May 30th) the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) will present a lecture on Elastic Models of Magma Reservoir Mechanics -- A Key Tool for Investigating Planetary Volcanism. The lecture will take place in Houston, Texas.


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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: 16 May 2014