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Solar System: Things to Know  This Week

This week, we’re looking at MAVEN’s exploration of Mars, the Orionid meteor showers, Mercury’s “great valley” and more.

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1. Celebrating MAVEN

MAVEN, the Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution, was the second mission selected for our Mars Scout program and the first to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere

. It launched on November 18, 2013 and entered orbit around Mars on September 21, 2014. 

+ MAVEN Quick Facts

2. Jupiter Moon Dance

This time-lapse sequence of Hubble Space Telescope images shows Jupiter’s moon Europa as it moved across the planet’s face over the course of 19 minutes. Europa is at the bottom center on Jupiter’s disk, the Great Red Spot to the left and Europa’s shadow to its right. The video was created by combining six snapshots taken in ultraviolet light with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

+ Learn more

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3. The Orionid Meteor Shower

Orionid shower peaks November 28. Look for the constellation Orion in the Southeast sky by 9 p.m. Using binoculars, look for the Orion Nebula. 

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4. Comet Warming Up!! 

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdu áková will brighten to expected stunning binocular visibility in mid to late December, but is near Venus on November 23rd.

+ Track the Comet

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5. Mercury’s “Great Valley”

A newly discovered “great valley” in the southern hemisphere of Mercury provides more evidence that the planet closest to the sun is shrinking. Using stereo images from our MESSENGER spacecraft to create a high-resolution map, scientists have discovered that revealed the broad valley – more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) long – extending into the Rembrandt basin, one of the largest and youngest impact basins on Mercury. About 250 miles (400 kilometers) wide and 2 miles (3 kilometers) deep, Mercury’s great valley is smaller than Mars’ Valles Marineris, but larger than North America’s Grand Canyon and wider and deeper than the Great Rift Valley in East Africa.

+ Learn more

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. NASA

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Solar System: Things to Know  This Week

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