This Week at NASA | Evidence of Ocean on Jovian Moon
ISS crew returns home safely
On March 10, Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA handed over command of the International Space Station to NASA astronaut and Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts. The next day, Wilmore and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency undocked from the station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Several hours later the trio landed safely in Kazakhstan – completing 167 days in space since launching in September 2014.
One-year ISS crew trains
The one-year crew, which includes NASA’s Scott Kelly, continues pre-flight preparations in Russia for its launch to the station later this month. Kelly and Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency are set to launch March 27 Eastern time to the station. Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the orbiting laboratory – conducting research on the effects of long duration space travel on the human body.
Bolden testifies on budget
A March 12 hearing convened by the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness provided another opportunity for NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden to testify about what the agency can accomplish with the $18.5 billion dollars proposed under President Obama’s FY 2016 budget. The funding will support further work on human missions to an asteroid and to Mars, round-trips to the International Space Station for American astronauts on commercial vehicles launched from Florida, improvements on Earth to aviation and climate and more.
SLS booster firing test
The largest, most powerful booster ever built that will help NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket launch was successfully fired up for a major ground test on March 11 at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the two-minute test, the booster was heated to verify how it performs in high temperature conditions. This significant milestone for the SLS program and NASA’s journey to Mars is the first of two ground tests to qualify the booster for flight. The next test is planned for early next year.
Magnetospheric Multiscale mission underway
NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission launched March 12 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission’s four identical observatories will orbit earth — providing the first-ever three-dimensional view of magnetic reconnection – a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe during which interaction between magnetic fields results in explosive energy that can accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light.
Space habitat technology
NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, Bill Gerstenmaier attended a March 12 media event at Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas to showcase the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM. The expandable test space habitat is scheduled for launch later this year to the International Space Station on the eighth SpaceX resupply mission. The BEAM will be attached to the station’s Tranquility node for a two-year technology demonstration.
Ocean on Jovian moon?
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the best evidence yet there’s an underground saltwater ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede – an ocean that’s believed to hold more water than all the water on Earth’s surface. By observing aurorae at the moon’s polar regions, scientists concluded a large amount of saltwater exists beneath Ganymede’s crust. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.
NASA Industry Forum
The Office of Small Business Programs hosted the NASA Industry Forum Spring 2015 meeting March 10 and 11 at NASA headquarters. The forum helps the Office of Small Business Programs directly hear areas of concern for NASA centers and contractors, and discuss possible solutions and improvements. Administrator Bolden and Office of Small Business Programs Associate Administrator Glenn Delgado also presented the 2014 Fiscal Year Agency-Level NASA Small Business Industry Awards at the forum.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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