This Week at NASA | ISS Astronauts Control Ground Robots; JPL Waves at Saturn; more
ISS Astronauts Control Ground Robots; JPL Waves at Saturn; more
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A REMOTE POSSIBILITY — ARC
During a test of NASA’s Human Exploration Telerobotics Project, astronaut Luca Parmitano, aboard the International Space Station remotely controlled a robotic planetary rover, called K-10 across the terrain at Ames Research Center’s Roverscape. The project is a demonstration of how astronauts in space can control robots on the ground for future exploration missions.
WAVE AT SATURN — JPL
To celebrate the public’s first “heads up” that Earth would be photographed from deep space, people came to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other places to wave at Saturn and the Cassini spacecraft as it snapped the pictures. Even Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver got in on the fun. Earth is just a tiny dot in the picture — but …Smile, you’re on Cassini camera!
NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft studying Mercury also got in on the Earth image action by taking pictures of our home planet around the same time as Cassini.
Images from two NASA spacecraft showing Earth and our moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space.
MAKING TRACKS ON MARS! — JPL
Speaking of cool pictures from space … this shot of NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the tracks it’s made on Mars since arriving there last August. The image was taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from high above the Martian surface in late June. At that time, Curiosity had driven about a quarter mile straight-line distance from its landing site.
IRIS OPEN — GSFC
The door on the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph or IRIS is open and part of the 60-day check out for NASA’s latest “eye on the Sun” calls for it to grab a few test pictures — which it did. These can help the IRIS team fine tune the telescope, if needed. IRIS scopes out material that moves through a mysterious portion of the Sun’s atmosphere. The mission’s normal science is scheduled to begin by Aug. 26.
A BOX OFFICE HIT! — GSFC
If the solar system was Hollywood, the Sun would have yet another reason for being its brightest star! Our sun was recently featured in the one-millionth movie produced at Helioviewer.org. The solar imagery browsing site started by NASA scientists and the European Space Agency in 2009 lets visitors make custom videos of the sun to share on YouTube and help with solar research.
TECH ON THE HILL — HQ
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden joined members of Congress and others at “NASA Tech Day on the Hill” in Washington. The interactive event gave visitors a peek at NASA space technologies that stimulate the economy and keep American competitive.
THE RING FITS — MSFC
An adapter ring and a Delta IV test article came together perfectly during a fit check at Marshall Space Flight Center. The two pieces are critical elements of Exploration Flight Test-1 — set for 2014. On that demo flight the adapter will connect the Orion spacecraft to a Delta IV rocket.
ONLY TWO CHUTES? — JSC
The latest test of Orion’s parachutes — seen live during a Google+ hangout. Dropped out of an airplane at 35-thousand feet, the highest altitude yet AND with one of its chutes cut away on purpose …. Not a problem — Orion’s other two chutes brought it down nice and easy. On return trips from future deep space missions, Orion will be going as fast as 20-thousand miles per hour.
SPACECRAFT FIT CHECK — (CP) KSC/JSC — Mike Curie Reporting
Astronauts fully “geared up” in iconic orange NASA flight suits checked out the amount of elbow room inside Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft recently, while Boeing engineers monitored communications, equipment and ergonomics.
Serena Aunon, NASA Astronaut: “Yeah, it feels good in there. The fact that it is an American vehicle. It will be launching from American soil. That is what I like about it.”
Boeing is one of three American companies working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop safe and affordable crew transportation systems.
NEWSPACE 2013 — ARC
At the NewSpace 2013 conference in San Jose, California Deputy Administrator Lori Garver talked about the Commercial Space industry and its importance to the future of exploration.
Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator: “We are leading the world in space, if you look, by almost any measure we are the envy of the world.”
The annual conference is one of the most important in the nation for the commercial space industry.
ASTRONOMY FROM THE STRATOSPHERE — DFRC
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA aircraft has begun its first Southern Hemisphere deployment to study celestial objects that are difficult or impossible to see in the northern sky. The flying observatory is flying astronomy missions from Christchurch, New Zealand, during its 2 ½-week deployment .
N.E.X.T. FOR SPACE TRAVEL
The NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster or NEXT is an advanced Ion propulsion system developed at Glenn Research Center. Its unmatched fuel efficiency could give a real boost to future deep space exploration missions — extending the reach of NASA science missions and yielding a higher return on scientific research.
LET’S TALK S.T.E.M. — LARC
Astronaut Serena Aunon talked with students about the future of human space flight and the need for skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, at the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network’s 2013 Hispanic College Institute. The four-day, pre-college workshop was part of NASA’s Summer of Innovation program to promote STEM education.
CELEBRATING SALLY — HQ
NASA, Sally Ride Science and Google in Education teamed up for an online Google+ hangout to celebrate the late Sally Ride. The hangout, also carried on NASA TV, featured Deputy Administrator Lori Garver — she joined other participants in praising Ride’s impact as a role model and her influence on STEM mentorship for women worldwide.
Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator: “I got to know her, served with her in really advancing the space program.”
SPACEFEST 2013 — HQ
Plenty of NASA exhibits in the house for SpaceFest 2013 at New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The four day event promotes space, STEM education and innovation. The newly reopened Space Shuttle Pavilion, with shuttle Enterprise was also a featured attraction.
And that’s This Week @NASA.
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