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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Our solar system is huge, let us break it down for you. Here are a few things to know this week:

1. The View from the Far Shore

The rugged shores of Pluto’s highlands come into sharp view in a newly released image from our New Horizons spacecraft. This latest view zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where they border dark highlands formerly named Krun Macula.

2. Dawn’s Latest Light

Our Dawn mission has now completed more than 1,000 orbital revolutions since entering into Ceres’ gravitational grip in March 2015. The probe is healthy and performing its ambitious assignments impeccably. See what it has revealed lately HERE.

3. Counting Down

Our OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu is now entering the final preparations for its planned launch in September. In a new interview, the mission’s principal investigator reports on the final pre-flight tests happening at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

4. Deep Dive

Three successful engine maneuvers to bring the lowest part of the spacecraft’s orbit down to just 74 miles (119 km) above the surface of Mars, the MAVEN mission’s fifth deep dip campaign has begun. MAVEN is studying the planet’s atmosphere up close.

5. Storm Season

Meanwhile, other robotic Mars orbiters have revealed that a pattern of three large regional dust storms occurs with similar timing most Martian years. The seasonal pattern was detected from dust storms’ effects on atmospheric temperatures, which spacecraft have been monitoring since 1997.

Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE.

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