This Week at NASA | ISS, Astronomy, Mars, more
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and White House Science Advisor John Holdren, announced that the Obama administration is extending usage of the International Space Station to at least the year 2024. In his blog, Bolden noted that NASA is hopeful and optimistic that our ISS partners will join this extension effort and enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted on the unique orbiting laboratory. Also, International Space Exploration Forum, Cygnus’ resupply flight, Super Bowl of Astronomy, 10 years roving Mars, TDRS-L Update and more.
On Wednesday, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and White House Science Advisor John Holdren, announced that the Obama administration is extending usage of the International Space Station to at least the year 2024.
In his blog, Bolden noted that NASA is hopeful and optimistic that our ISS partners will join this extension effort and enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted on the unique orbiting laboratory.
The following day Bolden joined Holdren and the heads of more than 30 space agencies from around the world for the first International Space Exploration Forum held at the State Department in Washington, DC. The multi-lateral summit highlighted the importance of international cooperation in human and robotic space exploration.
Extending the use of the station could mean more launches to the ISS by NASA’s commercial partners. Orbital Sciences, one of those partners, launched a Cygnus spacecraft from Wallops Flight Facility — on the company’s first contracted resupply mission to the station. The Cygnus is loaded with more than 27-hundred pounds of supplies for the Expedition 38 crew. – including experiments, hardware, spare parts and a number of student experiments. Commercial resupply missions by NASA partners ensures a robust national capability to deliver critical research to the orbiting laboratory.
A wide range of new findings made possible by NASA’s astrophysics spacecraft were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The noteworthy news included the first of a set of unprecedented, super-deep views of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope and a collaborative program called The Frontier Fields. The long-exposure image – the deepest-ever of a cluster of galaxies – also contains nearly 3,000 images of some of the faintest and youngest galaxies ever seen. During the five-day event at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland, NASA also provided updates on the agency’s astrophysics mission and engaged those interested in astrophysics. For more details on findings by other NASA spacecraft visit www.nasa.gov/aas.
Activities co-hosted by NASA at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum recently are among several celebrations around the country this month celebrating 10 years of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars. A new exhibit at The Museum features more than 50 mosaic and panoramic images taken by the rovers. During a panel discussion, NASA participants reflected on the scientific successes of the Mars Exploration Rover program and talked about the agency’s efforts toward a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. Spirit landed on Mars Jan. 4, 2004 Pacific Standard Time and Opportunity, which is still collecting science data, arrived on Jan. 25 Pacific time.
Members of the media were presented with a photo-op of NASA’s TDRS-L satellite during its pre-launch processing near Kennedy Space Center. Scheduled for launch January 23 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, TDRS-L, is the second of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for the NASA by providing tracking, telemetry, command and other data services for various science and human exploration missions.
The final three primary mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope arrived at Goddard Space Flight Center recently. Webb’s 18 hexagonal primary mirror segments will work as one 21.3-foot mirror, the largest ever flown in space. Set to launch in 2018, the Webb telescope will be the most powerful space telescope ever with ability to detect the light from the first galaxies ever formed.
The six-week FIRST Robotics 2014 build season is underway. The NASA Robotics Alliance Project plays a significant role in the student competition — providing grants to over 300 teams and sponsoring four regional student competitions, including one near Washington, DC March 27-29. Teams competing in FIRST use identical parts to build the best-designed robots to complete a specific challenge. Through public access to robotics programs, NASA is encouraging young people to investigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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