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Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Here are a few things you should know about our solar system this week:

1. The Bright and the Beautiful

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In its lowest-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from Ceres, Dawn has provided scientists with spectacular views of the dwarf planet, especially of its bright, young, hexagonal craters like Haulani.

2. Mars Needs Brains

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NASA is soliciting ideas from U.S. industry for designs of a Mars orbiter for potential launch in the 2020s. The satellite would provide advanced communications and imaging, as well as robotic science exploration, in support of NASA’s Journey to Mars. This effort seeks to take advantage of industry capabilities to improve deep space, solar electric propulsion-enabled orbiters.

3. Seeing Double

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NASA measured a solar flare from two different spots in space, using three solar observatories. During a December 2013 solar flare, three sun-observing spacecraft captured the most comprehensive observations ever of an electromagnetic phenomenon called a current sheet.

4. Set a Course for Europa

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This artist’s rendering shows NASA’s Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch in the 2020s. The mission would place a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter in order to perform a detailed investigation of the giant planet’s moon Europa—a world that shows strong evidence for an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust and which could host conditions favorable for life.

5. Go Deep

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Jupiter is huge, powerful and spectacular. But what lies hidden inside the giant planet? The Juno mission arrives at Jupiter in July to help us find out. Join Dr. Fran Bagenal to learn more about the mission and how it plans to delve deep into Jupiter’s secrets this year.

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

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