That Was The Week that Was, January 3-7, 2011. . . A Digest of Goddard People, Science, & Media, PLUS Historical Tidbits and Our Best Stuff in the Blogpodcastotwitterverse
MONDAY January 3: Meet Wendy Moore Morgenstern, an engineer with the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission.
Last Year’s Awesomeness: NASA Blueshift’s Weekly Awesomeness Round Up features the final list of the coolest-stuff-of-the-last-week-of-2010, including season’s greetings from NASA’s chief, Charlie Bolden, and a talk about the Webb Telescope and the search for alien planets by Goddard’s Mark Clampin.
Border blow: NASA Earth Observatory features a dust storm blowing from northern Mexico across the borders of Texas and New Mexico. NASA’s Aqua satellite caught all the dusty details from orbit.
PlumeWatch: NASA Earth Observatory features Kizimen Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The Terra satellite watched at Kizimen belched a plume of ash and steam on December 30, 2010.
Mars Polar Lander (not): On this day in 1999, NASA launched the Mars Polar Lander. Communication with the craft was lost just before it was to begin reentry into the planet’s atmosphere on December 3 that same year.
That’s the Spirit! On this day in 2004, the first Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, landed on Mars. On May 1, 2009 (5 years, 3 months, 27 Earth days after landing), Spirit became stuck in soft soil, although it continued to conduct observations in place.
TUESDAY January 4: 2011′s first partial solar eclipse thrills observers in Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Check out a gallery of eclipse images on the Goddard Flickr page or watch the time-lapse video of images captured by Geeked On Goddard guest blogger Dr. Phil Evans.
WEDNESDAY January 5: See the winners of the space-themed snowflake contest sponsored by NASA Blueshift. Those Blueshift fans are crafty devils!
Shuttle dreams: On this day in 1972, NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher met with President Richard M. Nixon to discuss the future of the space program. After the meeting, they issued a statement to the media announcing the decision to “proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier of the 1970s into familiar territory, easily accessible for human endeavor in the 1980s and ’90s.” This was a reference to the Space Shuttle, first flown in April 1981.
THURSDAY January 6: Find out why giant plumes of gas zooming up from the sun’s surface at 150,000 mph may play a key role in heating its sizzling outer atmosphere, the corona.
Water, water, anywhere? On this day in 1998, Lunar Prospector was launched on a one-year mission to explore the moon, especially whether or not water ice is buried inside the lunar crust. Developed as part of the Discovery program of frequent, low-cost missions, Lunar Prospector carried a small payload of only five instruments.
FRIDAY January 7: The Solar Dynamics Observatory Pick of the Week is a gorgeous color portrait of an elongated dark filament of plasma on the sun’s surface. The feature appears reddish-purple when imaged in three different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light.
OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.