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Meteor Shower Promises to Put On a Show

Friday, November 15, 2002

The Leonid meteor shower happens every year in mid-November. That's when our planet has a close encounter with Comet Tempel-Tuttle's orbit -- a region of space littered with streams of comet dust. Usually we pass through the rarefied gaps between streams and sky watchers see no more than 10 or 15 Leonids per hour. But sometimes (like last year) Earth plows through a debris stream more or less head-on and a full-fledged meteor storm erupts. Such meteor storms rarely happen in consecutive years, but 2001 and 2002 are exceptions. Experts have just released their predictions: Depending on where you live (Europe and the Americas are favored) Leonid meteor rates in 2002 should equal or exceed 2001 levels.

More: Science@NASA - The Truth about the 2002 Leonid Meteor Storm

Link: Science@NASA - Science@NASA - Leonid Observing Tips

Link: Science@NASA - Science@NASA - Leonid Meteor Storm Forecast

First Native American to Walk in Space

Friday, November 8, 2002

On November 11, the first tribally registered Native American astronaut will lift off into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour from NASA's Kennedy Space Center for the 16th American assembly flight to the International Space Station. During the mission, Astronaut John Bennett Herrington (Cmdr., USN), a member of the Chickasaw Nation, will become the first Native American to walk in space. Serving as Endeavour's flight engineer for launch and landing, Herrington will be one of two astronauts conducting three spacewalks to install a 45-foot, 14-ton girder-like structure, called the Port 1 to the Station. Once the remainder of the truss is complete, the structure will span more than 300 feet to carry power, data and temperature control to the electronic outpost of the Station.

More: NASA - John Herrington, First Native American to Walk in Space

More: NASA Biography - John Bennett Herrington

Name the Mars Rovers!

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

In the summer of 2003, NASA will launch two Mars Exploration Rovers that will land on the Red Planet in January 2004. NASA selected The LEGO Company and The Planetary Society to conduct a contest for students in K-12 grades throughout the United States to submit names for these rovers. Submissions must include suggested names for both rovers and a 50-500 word essay justifying why the students believe the names should be chosen. The contest has many educational benefits and encourages students to do research for their essays and to learn more about Mars and space exploration. The contest is open for submissions through January 31, 2003. NASA will announce the contest winners prior to launching the rovers in the spring of 2003.

More: Lego - Name the Rovers Contest Rules & Submission Forms

More: NASA - NASA Selects Lego Company to Run Mars Rover Naming Contest