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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

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

1. Science at the Edge


As the New Horizons spacecraft speeds away at more than 31,000 miles per hour (14 km/s) it continues to explore the Kuiper Belt, the region of icy bodies beyond Neptune. New Horizons has now twice observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile-wide object orbiting more than 3 billion miles from the sun.

2. A Spaceship, Refined


This artist’s rendering shows our Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch sometime in the 2020s. The mission will place a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter to explore the giant planet’s moon Europa. This updated concept image shows tow large solar arrays extending from the sides of the spacecraft, to which the mission’s ice-penetrating radar antennas are attached. A saucer-shaped high-gain antenna is also side mounted with a magnetometer boom placed next to it. Find out more about the spacecraft HERE.

3. Sojourn at Saturn


The Cassini spacecraft is hard at work this week, orbiting Saturn to study the planet and its rings. The recent pictures are spectacular, take a look at them HERE.

4. Talking Juno


Our Juno mission arrives at Jupiter on July 4, and that presents a unique opportunity for educators, science communicators and anyone interested in space exploration. We are providing a growing set of Juno-related information resources. Take a look at them HERE.

5. Now THAT’S a Long Distance Call


How do explorers on Earth talk to astronauts and robotic spacecraft flung across the far reaches of space? They use the remarkable technology deployed by our Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program Office. This month, SCaN is celebrating its 10th anniversary of managing the ultimate network. Find out how it works HERE.

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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