This Week at NASA | Restoring Power to ISS; Martian Atmosphere in View; Hubble Sees 13 Bil. Light Years Away
During an October 15 spacewalk outside the International Space Station – the second U.S. spacewalk in as many weeks – Expedition 41 Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA, replaced a failed voltage regulation device to restore the station’s electrical power output to full capacity. The pair also relocated camera and TV equipment as part of a major reconfiguration to accommodate new docking adapters for use by U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the next few years. Also, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy, Possible bonus destination for New Horizons, New information about volcanic activity on our moon and more.
During an October 15 spacewalk outside the International Space Station – the second U.S. spacewalk in as many weeks – Expedition 41 Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA, replaced a failed voltage regulation device to restore the station’s electrical power output to full capacity. The pair also relocated camera and TV equipment as part of a major reconfiguration to accommodate new docking adapters for use by U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the next few years.
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, which entered orbit around Mars on Sept. 21, is testing its instruments – and sending back “first light” scientific data. This includes a first look at a storm of energetic solar particles produced by a recent solar flare, unprecedented ultraviolet images of the oxygen and hydrogen coronas in the upper atmosphere, and the most comprehensive map ever made of Martian atmospheric ozone. MAVEN, on a mission to learn more about the history of the Red Planet’s climate and atmosphere, will officially start gathering science in early to mid-November.
With the help of a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, which acts like a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted one of the farthest galaxies ever seen – some 13 billion light-years away. The tiny, faint galaxy offers a peek back to the very early formative years of the universe, and astronomers say there may be more like it. Gravitational lensing happens when the gravity of a large galaxy cluster distorts and magnifies light from an object behind that cluster – making that object appear more visible.
A search team for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft also used Hubble’s distant vision to uncover three Kuiper Belt objects at the far fringe of our solar system that New Horizons could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015. The Kuiper Belt is a vast rim of primordial debris that circles our solar system. Kuiper Belt objects belong to a unique class of solar system objects that has never been visited by spacecraft and which contain clues to the origin of our solar system.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has provided strong evidence volcanic activity on our moon slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago, as researchers once believed. The spacecraft observed scores of distinctive rock deposits that are estimated to be less than 100 million years old – which is about the same time period that dinosaurs were prevalent on Earth. The findings have major implications for how warm the moon’s interior is thought to be. LRO is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
NASA research in unmanned aerial systems – commonly referred to as drones — could help detect and prevent multi-million dollar forest fires. Langley Research Center signed an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to test small flying drones equipped with cameras and transmitters as a way to check for fires at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia-North Carolina border. The research is part of the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s UAS Integration in the National Airspace System project.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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