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Today Hank uses his patented prognosticating abilities to tell you about some space news events to watch out for in 2013.
What one thing is the Curiosity rover going to spend most of the year doing? Why are we going back to the moon? And what two awesome things are projected to occur around Thanksgiving Day? Find out in this edition of SciShow News!

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Hello, and welcome to 2013!  The new year finds me in a new virtual news room.  I have no idea what it looks like!  But also, a newfound ability to see news before it happens!  So that's gonna be convenient.

(0:12) Any jughead with access to Wikipedia can tell you the science news that's already happened in the world, but only SciShow News can bring you the news of the future!

(0:21) Today we're using our patented prognosticating abilities to tell you what's gonna happen out there in the rest of the universe.  Space news events to watch out for in 2013.

(0:30) What one thing is the Curiosity rover gonna spend most of the year doing?  Why are we going back to the moon?  And what two awesome things are projected to occur around Thanksgiving Day?  

(0:40) The answers await within.

(0:42) [Intro plays]

(0:52) The coming year in science news will be ushered in, and out, by the solar system's baddest explorer and my personal Facebook friend, the Mars Science Laboratory, A.K.A. Curiosity, which will do at least two awesome things in 2013.

(1:05) First, within the next couple of weeks, it'll do something that it's never done before: Drill into a martian rock. Using a percussive drill on its arm, it will bore deep into a rock specimen, collect powder from it, and then analyze the powder to teach us more about Martian geology. This maneuver is so important that Curiosity's designers even included spare drill bits on board in case the drill gets jammed.

(1:27) Right now, mission planners are using data they acquired from Curiosity's recent sojourn to a little depression called Yellowknife Bay, to decide exactly which rock to drill into, a process that I image for exogeologists is kind of like, picking out an engagement ring.

(1:41) Curiosity's other mission high-line will actually take most of the year. Starting in mid-February, it'll being its trek to its main science objective: The five-point-five kilometer high Mount Sharp, a huge mountain near the rim of Gale Crater. Since the mountain is made up of many exposed layers, all kinds of interesting stuff could be on display there, including marks that first formed when Mars was warmer and wetter, possibly along with evidence of complex organic molecules.

(2:07) Even though Mount Sharp is only about ten kilometers away, NASA expects Curiosity's road trip to take a full nine months, because, of course, they want to allow time for some side trips to explore interesting features along the way. Plus, you know, a few rest stops.

(2:20) So, we might have some exciting Mars finds to talk about over Thanksgiving dinner this year.

(2:25) Moving on, in future space news:

(2:26) On March 1st, Space X will begin its second resupply mission to the International Space Station, sending its Dragon spacecraft back into orbit from Cape Canaveral. 

(2:35) This will be the first of two such missions Space X plans to conduct this year, but the Dragon won't be alone up there.

(2:40) That's because on April 5th, the new player in commercial space flight is expected to make its debut. The Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation is expected to perform its first flight to the ISS this spring, launching a cargo capsule called the Cygnus to rendezvous and dock with the ISS.

(2:57) Before conducting this dry run in space, though, Orbital Sciences will perform the first test launch of its new Antares rocket in Virginia, later this month.

(3:05) After a relatively quiet summer, NASA will then return to the moon in August, with the launch of its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission, also known, as "LADEE." [Pronounced as "Lady"] Or possibly "laddie." I'm-I'm not sure how they're pronouncing that one.

(3:19) The small orbiter will gather data about the moon's tenuous atmosphere and conditions near the lunar surface to help researchers understand how the moon's environment formed, and continues to change, providing a new level of detail we haven't seen since the end of the Apollo era. 

(3:33) The mission will demonstrate for the first time the use of lasers, instead of radio waves, to communicate with home base. Look for the launch on August 12th.

(3:41) Then on November 3rd, the rarest type of solar eclipse will take place. A so-called "hybrid" solar eclipse, in which part of the world will be able to observe a total eclipse of the sun, while others will see an annular eclipse, in which the sun forms a ring around the silhouette of the moon.

(3:55) These hybrids occur when the moon's umbra, the darkest part of its shadow, only reaches the earth for a short period, while the rest of the viewers in the moon's path fall under its penumbra, the lighter, broader part of its shadow.

(4:06) Most of the fun this November will only be visible from the Atlantic Ocean, but observers from the eastern US to the horn of Africa will be able to see the annular eclipse. If the weather's good.

(4:15) Then, again in November, as Curiosity makes its final approach to Mount Sharp, NASA plans to double-down on Mars. On November 18th, it'll launch MAVEN, or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, the first mission devoted to understanding Mars's upper atmosphere.

(4:31) Over the eon, scientists think Mars has lost a lot of its atmosphere, gas, and water to space. So, where did it go? And why?

(4:38) The MAVEN spacecraft will measure how quickly Mars is losing its atmosphere today, in order to help us do the math backward to figure out how Mars went from being warm and lush, practically Tampa without the cheesy night clubs, to a dry, lifeless landscape. Like, downtown Phoenix after five o' clock.

(4:55) Finally, be ready for November 28th, for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

(5:00) On or around Thanksgiving Day in the United States, we may be able to observe the brightest comet in recent history. The comet, officially labeled "Comet C-slash-2012 S1", but known to its friends as ISON, was discovered last September by a Russian astronomers. But it soon became apparent that we're gonna get a much better look at it.

(5:21) ISON's gonna get brighter, but not only as it gets closer to Earth, as it gets closer to the sun.

(5:26) Solar radiation will cause its ice and frozen gases to start melting, creating a large cloud of glowing dust and other material known as the coma. Solar winds will then blow the coma into a sweeping, wispy tail, possibly millions of kilometers long.

(5:42) So by late summer, ISON will be close enough to the sun that we should be able to observe it with simple backyard telescopes. In October, it will be viewable with the naked eye, appearing in constellation Leo. But the real fireworks will begin in November, when it approaches perihelion, its closest position to the sun.

(5:58) And by close, I mean it will be a hundred times closer to the sun than we are. A mere 1.2 million kilometers. That's expected to take place November 28th, and some astronomers predict that the comet will be as bright as the full moon, even visible during the daytime.

(6:14) Of course, it will be so close to the sun, that it will probably easiest to view during evenings and early mornings. 

(6:19) Now it's possible that the sun's heat will cause ISON to break apart. But if it doesn't, we'll have another month or so to admire it intact, as it passes through the winter sky with the luminosity of Venus.

(6:29) Will ISON outshine the brightest comet on official record, 1965's comet Ikeya-Seki? Or possible even brighter ones that have passed before we could measure their luminosity, like the Great Comet of 1882? I have to admit, I don't know, because I can't actually predict the future. But either way, I can't think of an awesomer way to wrap up the year. 

(6:48) Did I forget anything? Do you have any future space news, or non-space science news, for that matter, that I left out? Let us known in the comments below, we would love to cover things that you would love us to cover. So, always be communicating with us, we're also on Facebook and Twitter, and if you want to continue getting smarter with us here at SciShow, you can go to slash SciShow and subscribe.

[Outro plays]