January a Big Month for NASA
- The Deep Impact mission that will send a probe into Comet Tempel 1 is scheduled for launch next Wednesday, Jan. 12. The probe will arrive in July and penetrate the comet's interior to help provide a better understanding its composition -- especiall interesting since scientists believe comets are made up of primordial material from the solar system's formation 4.5 billion years ago.
- After having been released on Christmas Eve by the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn, the Huygens probe will land on Saturn's moon Titan on Friday, Jan. 14. Huygens is expected to survive only a brief time in Titan's harsh environment, but hopefully long enough to gather and relay back insightful information.
- The Mars Rovers are celebrating their one-year anniversary on the Red Planet, still sending back valuable data and exceeding all expectations (their primary mission ended in April).
- Yesterday, NASA rolled out the Space Shuttle's redesigned external fuel tank -- a critical milestone for the Shuttle's return to service planned for this spring.