This Week @ NASA | New Deputy Administrator Confirmed; more
Following unanimous confirmation by the Senate on April 27, the appointment of MIT Professor Dava Newman as NASA’s next deputy administrator will become official when signed by President Obama. Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and of engineering systems, has been on the MIT faculty since 1993. In a statement, Administrator Charlie Bolden said he was ecstatic to welcome her aboard at such a busy and exciting time – as the agency continues making extraordinary strides on the Journey to Mars. Also, New Pluto imagery, MESSENGER mission ends, Progress cargo craft update, Joining Forces and more.
Following unanimous confirmation by the Senate on April 27, the appointment of MIT Professor Dava Newman as NASA’s next deputy administrator will become official when signed by President Obama. Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and of engineering systems, has been on the MIT faculty since 1993. In a statement, Administrator Charlie Bolden said he was ecstatic to welcome her aboard at such a busy and exciting time – as the agency continues making extraordinary strides on the Journey to Mars.
For the first time, images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark regions on the surface of faraway Pluto – the primary target of the spacecraft’s close flyby in mid-July. The images were captured in early to mid-April from within 70 million miles using the telescopic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager or (LORRI) camera on New Horizons. A technique called image deconvolution sharpens the raw, unprocessed images beamed back to Earth. Mission scientists interpreted the data to reveal the dwarf planet has broad surface markings – some bright, some dark – including a bright area at one pole that may be a polar cap.
After more than 10 years in space, NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging or MESSENGER mission concluded on April 30 with the planned collision of the spacecraft into the planet Mercury. Since being launched in August 2004, the 4.9 billion miles MESSENGER has traveled included 15 trips around the sun and flybys of Earth and Venus. The mission collected unprecedented images, observations and other data that will be analyzed for years, possibly revealing more science discoveries.
Shortly after the April 28 launch of an autonomous Russian Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan, Russian flight controllers began experiencing telemetry problems related to deploying of navigational antennas and issues with the propulsion system. On April 29 after multiple attempts were made to recover command capability, Russian flight controllers confirmed the Progress wouldn’t be able to dock to the space station. The craft, which is loaded with more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies, now is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in the next few weeks.The six station crew members remain safe and are continuing regular operations with sufficient supplies currently onboard.
A video message from NASA astronaut and retired Navy Captain Scott Kelly, shown at an April 27 Joining Forces event at the Vice President’s Residence at the Naval Observatory, emphasized how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM courses, helped Kelly fulfill his dream of becoming a Navy pilot and astronaut. Started four years ago by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the Joining Forces initiative helps service members, veterans, and their families gain the skills they need to succeed — including fostering strong STEM skills in military-connected students whose parents may be re-assigned during the school year.
NASA Administrator Bolden attended an April 27 ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York during which the space shuttle Enterprise was dedicated to the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews. Those heroic crews and Enterprise, NASA’s first shuttle flight test vehicle, contributed significantly to the cause of space exploration and serve as inspiration to new generations of explorers. About 300 future explorers were at the Intrepid the same day to highlight a STEM related contest to design experiments to be flown to space.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.(c)2015 NASA | SCVTV