The connected Zarya and Unity modules after Unity was released from the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s cargo bay.
Fifteen years ago on Nov. 20, 1998, the Roscosmos (the former Russian Space Agency) launched a Proton rocket that sent the Zarya module into space. This was the first section of the International Space Station. Two weeks later on Dec. 4, the United States launched the Unity module making the 2 modules a real international space station.
The ISS is now the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. If you know where and when to look you can easily see it without a telescope, and NASA’s Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston can tell you when and where. Log onto Nasa.gov to receive e-mail or text alerts a few hours before the ISS will be passing over your area. If you sign up soon you might even be able to spot it while “comet hunting” during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The view today from Curiosity’s Nav Cam
Since its one year anniversary on August 6th., Curiosity has traveled 1,079.52m (3,541′) or about the length of 12 football fields. That’s an average of 22m per day which is short of NASA’s goal of at least 110m per day. But during this period, Curiosity did have its longest drive of the mission when on 9/5 it advanced 138.62m. On that day the drive was extended well beyond what the Curiosity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena could see by enabling the rover’s on-board hazard avoidance system or Autonav.
Foothills of Mt. Sharp
Next Tuesday is the 1 year anniversary of Curiosity’s landing on Mars. Curiosity will celebrate the day by continuing to drive slowly toward Mt. Sharp. Mt. Sharp is a little over 3 miles high and is in the center of Gale Crater. It began the 5 mile journey to the foot hills of Mt. Sharp on July 7 and should arrive in 9 months to a year. So far Curiosity’s farthest distance traveled in one day was on July 21 when it went 100.3 m.
Curiosity Rover’s Self Portrait at ‘John Klein’ Drilling Site, Cropped (2013) (Photo credit: Euclid vanderKroew)
The distance traveled yesterday was 85.14 m. NASA had hoped it would travel at least 110m per day. Maybe by next Tuesday Curiosity will break another record but with a top speed over flat hard ground of just .09 mph that might be asking a little too much.
Coming July 2, 2013!
Get excited, our new lineup of planetarium shows begins this Tuesday!
Explore the inner workings of Earth’s climate system. With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, this cutting-edge production follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere. Audiences will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes.
Check back for frequent astronomy updates, behind the scenes tidbits, commentary on current astronomy events, and more… Also, if you have a question, let us know!