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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

From the people who work for us, to ESA’s ExoMars, to phases of the moon, learn more about the solar system. 

1. NASA Is More Than Astronauts


Our employees engage in a very wide range of work, and they come from a variety of backgrounds. To meet some of them and learn how they came to work for us, follow the #NASAProud tag on social media.

+ Learn about job opportunities and why NASA employees love working there
+ Get to know the people who explore the solar system

2. ExoMars Is Cleared for Landing 


A joint project between the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, ExoMars 2016 will enter orbit around the Red Planet on Oct. 19. The mission includes the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator. TGO will make a detailed inventory of Mars’ atmospheric gases, looking especially for rare gases like methane to help determine whether that methane stems from a geological or biological source. The orbiter also carries a pair of transmitters provided by NASA. The Schiaparelli lander separated from TGO on Oct. 16, entering the atmosphere for a six-minute descent to a region in Meridiani Planum, not far from NASA’s Opportunity rover. Schiaparelli will test landing technologies in preparation for future missions, including a heatshield, parachute, propulsion system and a crushable structure.

+ Go along for the ride

3. This Just in From Jupiter

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Mission managers for our Juno mission to Jupiter have decided to postpone the burn of its main rocket motor originally scheduled for Oct. 19. Engineers want to carefully examine telemetry from a pair of sticky helium valves before the maneuver, which will reduce the time it takes Juno to orbit Jupiter from about 53 days to 14 days. The next opportunity for the burn would be during its close flyby of Jupiter on Dec. 11. Meanwhile, the spacecraft is still gathering data about Jupiter, and Juno will still swing close by the giant planet on Oct. 19.

+ Read more

4. It’s Just a Phase 

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

The moon was full on Oct. 16. This month’s full moon is sometimes called the Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon.

+ See a video showing all of this year’s lunar
+ Learn what causes the moon’s phases

5. Free to Ride

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Did you know that NASA offers several other fascinating (and free) online experiences, all based on actual data from real missions. Here are a few to explore:

+ Mars Trek
+ Vesta Trek
+ Lunaserv Global Explorer
+ Deep Space Network (DSN) Now
+ Spacecraft 3D app

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

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