August 9, 2010 - Rush Hour at the Red Planet

Rush Hour at the Red Planet Launched five years ago this week, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spent a lonely seven months cruising to Mars, only to arrive at the Martian equivalent of rush hour as it joined a record five spacecraft that were already busily operating at Mars, either on its surface or in orbit. Despite the crowds, MRO settled into orbit where it would conduct its main mission of searching for evidence that water once existed on the surface of Mars for a long period of time. Carrying a suite of scientific instruments including cameras, spectrometers, and radar, MRO returned this image of the floor of Ius Chasma, which is believed to have been shaped by a process called sapping, when water seeped from the layers of cliffs and evaporated before reaching the canyon floor below.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Weekly Calendar

August 9-15, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 9

New Moon 11:08 PM ET
Venus 3° south of Saturn

1965: First static test of SIV-B stage
1976: Luna 24 launched

Moon phase Tuesday 10

Moon at perigee

1966: Lunar Orbiter I launched
1990: Magellan enters orbit around Venus
2001: STS-105 Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 11

Mercury 2° north of Moon

1960: Discoverer 13 capsule becomes first object recovered from orbit
: Vostok 3 launched

Moon phase Thursday 12

Perseid meteor shower

1877: Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, moon of Mars
1960: Echo 1 satellite launched on first successful Delta rocket
1962: Vostok 4 launched
1977: HEAO-1 launched
1977: Space shuttle Enterprise’s first glide test
2005: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched

Moon phase Friday 13

Saturn 8° north of Moon
Venus 5° north of Moon
Mars 6° north of Moon
Perseid meteor shower

Moon phase Saturday 14

Moon phase Sunday 15

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