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July 1, 2013 - Two Worlds, One Sun

Two Worlds, One Sun This week marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Mars rover Opportunity. Landing on Mars in January 2004 on the opposite side of the planet as Spirit, its twin rover, Opportunity set a record for distance traveled on Mars: as of mid-2012, it had covered 35 km (21 mi) and was still working, far in excess of its original ninety-day mission. Opportunity discovered a meteorite on the ground at Meridiani Planum, spent more than two years studying Victoria crater, survived dust storms in 2007, and reached Endeavour crater in 2011. Opportunity, like Spirit, carried a Martian sundial (visible at the edge of the solar panel above), which also acted as a calibration target for the rover’s imaging systems.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / Arizona State Univ.

Weekly Calendar

July 1-7, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 1

Canada Day (Canada)

Pluto at opposition

1917: 100” mirror arrives at Mt. Wilson Observatory
1972: Wernher von Braun retires from NASA
1997: STS-94 Columbia launched

Moon phase Tuesday 2

1985: European Space Agency launches Giotto probe to study Halley’s Comet

Moon phase Wednesday 3

1935: Harrison Schmitt born

Moon phase Thursday 4

Independence Day

1054: Crab Nebula supernova observed
1997: Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars
2005: Deep Impact probe collides with comet Tempel 1
2006
: STS-121 Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 5

Earth at aphelion

1966: Apollo-Saturn 203 launched
1982: Space Shuttle Challenger arrives at Kennedy Space Center for first time

Moon phase Saturday 6

Mars 4° north of Moon
Moon at apogee

1687: Isaac Newton publishes his Principia

Moon phase Sunday 7

1995: Final test flight of DC-X rocket
1998: First satellite launch from a submarine
2003: Mars rover Opportunity launched

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