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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Aug. 3
This Week at NASA …
SHUTTLE UPDATE - KSC
The countdown of the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on Aug. 7 at 7:02 p.m. continues. Commanded by Scott Kelly, the STS-118 crew will add another truss segment, and install a new gyroscope on the International Space Station. The crew also will add a spare parts platform and install a new electrical system that allows docked shuttles to draw power from the station. If the new system functions as expected, the mission will be extended from 11 to 14 days. In addition to Kelly, the STS-118 Crew is Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and mission specialists Tracy Caldwell, Rick Mastracchio, Al Drew, Dave Williams and Barbara Morgan.
PHOENIX COUNTDOWN - JPL
The Phoenix Mars Lander is ready for a mission to the arctic region of Mars. It will carry a robot equipped to analyze the red planet's icy soil to determine whether it has ever been suitable for life. Phoenix will use some of the most advanced technology ever sent to Mars. The robotic arm will dig through the soil and collect samples from the water ice layer beneath. On the instrument deck, miniature ovens, a mass spectrometer, an atomic force microscope and a "chemistry lab box" will analyze the samples. Imaging systems will provide an unprecedented view of Mars and a weather station will monitor the Martian atmosphere. The Phoenix Mars Lander launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and should arrive at Mars in May 2008.
ROVERS UPDATE - JPL
NASA engineers are closely monitoring the Mars Exploration Rovers. The solar panels on Opportunity have been obscured by dust kicked up in a series of severe Martian storms. As a result, the solar panels are unable to convert enough sunlight into electricity to supply the rover's needs. To compensate and conserve energy Opportunity's activities are being kept to a minimum. Spirit is also accumulating some dust on its solar panels. Engineers are hoping that weather conditions on Mars will soon clear. Spirit and Opportunity are in the fourth year of their exploration mission.
CREATIVE CRATER - ARC
Research on one of the most remote spots on Earth will help future explorers prepare for missions on the moon and Mars. For nearly three weeks, two NASA robots surveyed a rocky, isolated polar desert within Haughton Crater on Devon Island in the Arctic Circle. The robots, K10 Black and K10 Red, carried 3-D laser scanners and ground-penetrating radar to help scientists determine how human and robot teams can get the most scientific returns from lunar and Martian outposts. Haughton Crater is geographically similar to Shackleton Crater at the South Pole of the moon. Both are impact craters more than 12 miles wide. NASA plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020.
And that's This Week At NASA!
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