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Uploaded 05/13/2019

This Week @ NASA: Supplies, Research and Equipment Delivered to the Space Station

A commercial resupply mission delivers to the space station … Visits from recently returned space station astronauts … And using deflection as a technique for planetary defense … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

SpaceX Resupply Spacecraft Arrives at Space Station

On May 6, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station – two days after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon delivered more than 5,500 pounds of research, supplies and hardware to the orbital complex. It will remain at the station for approximately one month before returning to Earth with about 3,300 pounds of cargo and research.

Astronauts Feustel and Arnold Make Post-Flight Appearances

Our Drew Feustel, who served as space station Commander during Expedition 55/56, made several post-flight appearances in the Washington, D.C. area – including a short presentation May 9 for employees at NASA Headquarters. The week before, our Ricky Arnold – a member of that same expedition crew – also visited D.C. Arnold and Feustel returned to Earth Oct. 4 after spending just over six months on the station.

NASA’s First Planetary Defense Technology Demonstration to Collide with Asteroid in 2022

Our Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART is the first-ever mission to demonstrate a planetary defense technique that will deflect an asteroid by colliding a spacecraft into it at a high speed. The mission’s target – Didymos B – is the small moonlet orbiting a larger body in the binary asteroid system Didymos. Performing the test with a binary system will enable researchers to more easily observe changes to the orbit of the smaller body, than if it were a single asteroid orbiting the Sun. DART is targeted for launch in June 2021. It will intercept Didymos B in October 2022, when the asteroid is within about 11 million kilometers of Earth.

Mars Odyssey Captures Full Moon Phase Images of Phobos

For the first time, our Mars Odyssey spacecraft captured imagery of the Martian moon Phobos during a full moon phase. Each color in the new image represents a temperature range detected by the Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS – Odyssey’s infrared heat-vision camera. THEMIS has been studying the moon since September of 2017. This full moon view is better for studying material composition, whereas half-moon views are better for looking at surface textures.

NASA Investigating Soft Robots for Space Exploration

A pair of interns at our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia are using 3D printers to develop a series of soft, flexible robotic actuators to investigate the viability of using soft robots for future space exploration and assembly tasks – possibly during missions to the Moon and Mars. Being constructed from highly flexible materials, such as silicone, enables soft robots to move more like living organisms – which allows for an increased range of motion that traditional metal robots do not have.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA …

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