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NASA’s Year of the Solar System An Overview




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Year of the Solar System

Year of the Solar System

Spanning a Martian Year – 23 months – the Year of the Solar System celebrates the amazing discoveries of numerous NASA missions as they explore our near and distant neighbors and probe the very outer edges of our Solar System.

It is an unprecedented time in planetary sciences as we learn about new worlds and make new discoveries!

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YSS – Mission Events

YSS – Mission Events


October 14 – 50th Anniversary of Exo/Astrobiology

November 4 – EPOXI encounters Comet Hartley 2

November 19 – Launch of O/OREOS

December 7 – Venus Climate Orbiter (JAXA) arrives at Venus


February 14 – Stardust-NExT encounters comet Tempel 1

March 18 – MESSENGER orbit insertion at Mercury

July – Dawn orbit insertion at asteroid Vesta

August – Juno launch to Jupiter

September – GRAIL launch to the Moon

November – MSL launch to Mars


Early 2012 – Mars Opportunity Rover gets to Endeavour Crater

Mid-year – Dawn leaves Vesta starts on its journey to Ceres

August – MSL lands on Mars

New missions will further unveil the secrets of Jupiter, the Moon, and Mars. Other robotic explorers will encounter comets and asteroids, journey to dwarf planets, and continue to unlock the mysteries of our Sun, Mercury, Saturn, and our home planet, Earth.

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YSS – Thematic Calendar

YSS – Thematic Calendar

Each month from October 2010 through August 2012 will highlight different aspects of our Solar System – its formation, volcanism, ice, life – weaving together activities, resources, and ideas for teachers, clubs, and organizations.

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YSS Website

YSS Website

Events, materials, and ways to get involved are highlighted on an interactive YSS website! The website includes:

Information about mission milestones, night sky viewing opportunities, and nation-wide events like Sun-Earth Day, Earth Day, and International Observe the Moon Night

Educational activities for K-12 and undergraduate classrooms and clubs/organizations tied to the BIG QUESTIONS of planetary science

Downloadable resources such as bookmarks, the calendar, PowerPoint files, and website widgets

Ways to get involved: register your events for display on the calendar and map, share your stories, view images and video, and participate via Facebook and Twitter

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YSS Website

YSS Website

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