This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: The Second Meeting of the National Space Council
Outside the International Space Station, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency conducted a spacewalk on Jan. 13, to complete an upgrade that included installing adapter plates and hooking up electrical connections for six new lithium-ion batteries, which were delivered to the station in December. Kimbrough and fellow NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson began the upgrade work during a spacewalk on Jan. 6.
NASA at SciTech 2017
NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman talked about the innovation needed to enable NASA’s Journey to Mars at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum on Jan. 10 in Grapevine, Texas. The agency currently is developing the technologies and skills to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. Also – in recognition of Langley Research Center’s Centennial — center Director David Bowles was joined by several former Langley directors to talk about the many contributions the center has made in its 100 years of research to achieve excellence in flight.
Those contributions continue at Langley today. Engineers there are using a 56-year old wind tunnel, capable of producing winds speeds up to 900 mph, to understand how NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will behave at speeds just below supersonic. That’s the speed where shock waves can oscillate on the rocket and apply unsteady pressures. Understanding how the rocket responds to these pressures is important to the rocket’s structural strength and guiding it on a safe flight to orbit. SLS will send an Orion spacecraft to an asteroid and other deep space destinations on the Journey to Mars.
NASA will kick off three new Earth science field experiments in 2017. The missions – part of the agency’s globe-spanning Earth Expeditions research campaign – get underway in January and February. One will collect data on coral reef health and volcanic gas emissions, another will monitor the diversity of oceanic phytoplankton, and their impact on the marine carbon cycle, and the third is part of a multiyear effort to determine how much water is stored in Earth’s terrestrial snow-covered regions. Earth Expeditions investigates some of the most pressing questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.
The extreme weather affecting the western U.S. is clearly visible from space. The NASA/NOAA GOES project created a satellite animation of the system that brought extreme rainfall to that region Jan. 6 through 9. Meanwhile, an image captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite showed widespread snow blanketing Washington, Idaho, Oregon, northern California and Nevada. Predictions by the National Weather Service included flash flooding and extremely heavy snowfall.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA …(c)2018 NASA | SCVTV