October 24, 2016 - Galileo's Glimpse of Gaspra

Galileo’s Glimpse of Gaspra  This image from the first asteroid flyby was obtained twenty-five years ago this week by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. The 19-km-long (12-mi) Gaspra exhibits an irregular shape, suggesting the asteroid is a piece of a larger body that was shattered by collisions. Scientists were surprised to find Gaspra’s surface littered with so many small craters and covered with grooves similar to those on Mars’s moon Phobos. Like the Magellan spacecraft launched to Venus in May 1989, the Jupiter-bound Galileo rode to orbit inside the payload bay of the space shuttle Atlantis during STS-34 in October 1989 and was released into orbit, heading further into space with a boost from an upper-stage engine. It used one gravity assist from Venus and two from Earth to ultimately arrive at Jupiter in 1995.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / USGS

Weekly Calendar

October 24-30, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 24

1851: William Lassell discovers Uranus moons Umbriel & Ariel
1968: 199th and final X-15 flight
1998: Deep Space 1 launched
2001: Mars Odyssey arrives at Mars
2007: Chang'e-1 lunar spacecraft launched

Moon phase Tuesday 25

1671: Giovanni Cassini discovers Iapetus, moon of Saturn
1877: Henry Norris Russell born
1975: Venera 10 lands on Venus
2006: STEREO spacecraft launched

Moon phase Wednesday 26

Venus 3° north of Antares

1977: Fifth and final glide test of Space Shuttle Enterprise
2004: Cassini spacecraft completes first flyby of Titan

Moon phase Thursday 27

Mercury in superior conjunction

1961: SA-1 launched, first Saturn rocket
2003: ISS Expedition 7 crew returns to Earth after 184 days in orbit

Moon phase Friday 28

Jupiter 1.4° south of Moon

1971: Britain launches its first satellite
1974: Luna 23 launched
2009: Ares I-X test flight

Moon phase Saturday 29

1964: First flight of Lunar Landing Research Vehicle
1987: Cosmos 1894 becomes 2,000th satellite
1991: Galileo flies past Gaspra
1998: STS-95 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 30

New Moon 12:38 PM ET
Venus 3° south of Saturn

1981: Venera 13 launched
1985: STS-61A Challenger launched
1997: First successful Ariane 5 rocket launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.