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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. Beyond Pluto

The principle investigator for the New Horizons mission reports that the spacecraft is healthy and has recently completed the halfway point in its long download of 50-plus gigabits of data about the Pluto system. Now, the New Horizons team has submitted a proposal to continue the exploration. Find out more HERE.

2. A Planet of Particular Importance

April 22 is Earth Day, and we’re deeply involved in studying and understanding how to protect our one and only home world. Join us for a #24Seven celebration of Earth Day. Learn more about our missions to Earth HERE.

3. It’s True — All of It

Sci-fi meets real space exploration when BB8 the droid gets to know Maggie, the engineering model for the Mars Curiosity rover, in a short video produced by some of the people behind Star Wars. Take a look HERE. Photo credit: LucasFilm

4. Bringing Home a Piece of the Sky

Did you know that we’re planning to bring part of an asteroid to Earth? The ambitious OSIRIS-REx mission, which will retrieve a sample from the asteroid Bennu, is slated for launch later this year.

5. Catch Them — If You Can

The best time to view the Lyrids meteor shower will be just before dawn on April 23, when the constellation Lyra is overhead and the moon will be near to setting. Be aware, however, that this year the light of the full moon will make them harder to spot. Find out what else is up in this month’s night skies HERE.

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

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