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October 9, 2017 - The Day the Earth Smiled

The Day the Earth Smiled  Launched twenty years ago this week, the Cassini spacecraft became the first spacecraft in history to enter orbit around Saturn. Its list of firsts includes deploying the Huygens probe, which landed on the surface of Saturn’s enigmatic moon Titan, the only moon in the solar system with an appreciable atmosphere. Cassini’s four-year-long nominal mission at Saturn was extended twice, ending only last month after thirteen years at Saturn. One of the most stunning images obtained by Cassini is this backlit view of Saturn taken on July 19, 2013. As Cassini looked back toward the Sun (blocked by Saturn) and the rest of the inner solar system, Earthlings, inhabiting the tiny dot in the center below the rings, were urged to smile as this long-distance planetary portrait was taken.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI

Weekly Calendar

October 9-15, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 9

Thanksgiving Day (Canada)
Columbus Day

Moon at perigee
Aldebaran 0.6° south of Moon
Draconid meteor shower

1604: Kepler’s Supernova observed
2009: LCROSS detects water on the Moon

Moon phase Tuesday 10

1846: William Lassell discovers Triton, moon of Neptune
1980: Very Large Array dedicated
1983: Venera 15 orbits Venus
2007: ISS Expedition 16 crew launched

Moon phase Wednesday 11

1968: Apollo 7 launched
1969: Soyuz 6, 7 & 8 in space at once
: Magellan mission ends
2000: STS-92 Discovery launched
2005: Shenzhou 6 launched

Moon phase Thursday 12

Last Qtr Moon 8:25 AM ET

1964: Voskhod 1 launched, first three-person space flight
1977: Shuttle Enterprise’s first glide test without aerodynamic tailcone
2008: ISS Expedition 18 crew launched

Moon phase Friday 13

1773: Charles Messier observes M-51
1933: British Interplanetary Society founded
1968: Apollo 7 first live TV broadcast from space
2004: ISS Expedition 10 crew launched

Moon phase Saturday 14

1947: World’s first supersonic flight
1957: USAF announces X-20 Dyna-Soar project
1983: Venera 16 arrives in orbit around Venus

Moon phase Sunday 15

Regulus 0.2° south of Moon

1829: Asaph Hall born
1997: Cassini-Huygens launched
2003: Shenzhou 5 launched, Yang Liwei becomes first Chinese astronaut

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