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April 4, 2014
This Week @ NASA, April 4, 2014

“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”

Underground water on Saturn moon

NASA's Cassini spacecraft and the agency’s Deep Space Network have yielded evidence that a large underground ocean of water does indeed exist on Saturn's moon Enceladus – a theory formulated in 2005. Radio frequency and gravity measurements taken as Cassini flies by the moon suggest a large, possibly regional ocean about 6 miles deep, situated beneath an ice shell about 19 to 25 miles thick. Evidence of the below-ground ocean validates the inclusion of Enceladus to the list of possible places in our solar system to contain microbial life.

LADEE update

Having completed all its main mission objectives… NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE spacecraft is in the extended phase of its mission -- orbiting a mile or two above the surface of our moon. LADEE is in this super-low orbit to gather valuable clues about the moon’s dust environment and its tenuous atmosphere, known as an exosphere. Per planning, the mission will end when LADEE impacts the moon’s surface sometime between now and late April.

Women in Aerospace

During a Women’s History Month event in Northern Virginia, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden spoke to members of Women in Aerospace about the contributions women have made to the American aerospace industry and how NASA continues to benefit from the work of women across the agency. He also thanked the organization for promoting science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM programs and encouraged continued support of NASA’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget -- to help the agency maintain its leadership in science and aerospace technology.

Lightfoot visits Langley

Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot also discussed the budget --- at a meeting with employees at Langley Research Center. During the visit, Lightfoot and new Chief Technologist David Miller also viewed the hardware for the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III on ISS  -- or “Sage-3” experiment. Scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in early 2015, Sage-3 will measure ozone, water vapor and aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere.

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board meetings

At the Spring 2014 Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board meetings in Washington, Administrator Bolden gave an update on NASA’s big picture activities and plans under the FY15 budget request. Meanwhile, several other agency officials spoke about NASA activities in specific areas – including Aeronautics Research, Space Technology and Science. The ASEB was established in 1967 to focus talents and energies of the engineering community on significant aerospace policies, programs and issues of national importance.

International students observing climate

During an event at NASA headquarters, a group of international students in a global fellowship program presented studies they put together, using satellite data and mapping technologies, to address climate change impacts in their regions. Sponsored by NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Association of American Geographers, the My Community, Our Earth / SERVIR program supports long-term training of young scholars in the use of space-based observations, to address climate change issues in developing regions.

New partner at Kennedy

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana officially welcomed PaR Systems, Incorporated of Shoreview, Minnesota as a new partner during an April 2 ceremony at Cape Canaveral’s Hangar N facility. NASA wants to retain the unique inventory of nondestructive test and evaluation equipment at the facility and the capability for current and future mission support. PaR Systems will operate Hangar N at its own expense and perform nondestructive testing and other related aerospace, marine and industrial products services. Partnerships between NASA and other organizations are a key element in Kennedy’s transition from a historically government-only launch facility to a multi-user spaceport for both government and commercial customers.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA …

For more on these and other stories follow us on social media and visit www.nasa.gov/twan.

Page Last Updated: April 4th, 2014
Page Editor: Gary Daines