NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending March 7

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending March 7
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This Week At NASA…

Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday morning at 2:28 a.m. Eastern. The STS-123 crew will take the first part of Japan's Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. Japanese astronaut Dr. Takao Doi will be making his second space flight. In late 1997, Doi performed two spacewalks for the STS-87 mission, featuring the manual capture of the Spartan satellite. Doi also helped test tools and procedures for the assembly of the International Space Station, which he’ll be visiting for the first time on this mission.

The first image of active avalanches on Mars has been photographed by a NASA spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Experiment, HiRISE, on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, took this picture of active avalanches near the Red Planet's North Pole. The picture shows tan clouds billowing away from the foot of a towering slope, where ice and dust have just cascaded. It’s believed more ice than dust makes up the material that fell from the upper portion of the scarp. Imaging of the site during coming months will track any changes in the new deposit at the base of the slope.

American physicist and Inventor Dr. Robert Goddard is considered the father of modern rocket propulsion. On March 16, 1926, Goddard took data culled from his numerous failed attempts to build and successfully launch the world’s first liquid fuel rocket. The 10-foot tall rocket Goddard dubbed Nell was launched from his aunt’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. At a speed of 60 miles per hour, Nell climbed to an altitude of 41 feet. The flight lasted 2-and-a-half seconds, with the rocket landing 184 feet away -- in a frozen cabbage patch.

Named for this illustrious space pioneer, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland was dedicated in May, 1959.

Stephanie Wilson was selected for NASA's Astronaut Corps in April 1996, fulfilling a dream she’d had since her teenage years.

Wilson: "When I was thirteen I first became interested in space. I actually had a school assignment to interview someone that worked in that career field that I was interested in, and I interviewed a local area astronomy professor. I was fascinated by his work. Later, though I became more interested in engineering and so I thought that studying aerospace engineering would be a good combination of my interest in space and my interest in engineering."

Wilson is a veteran of two shuttle missions. She served as mission specialist on STS-120 and 121. During STS-121 Wilson supported robotic arm operations for vehicle inspection, multi-purpose logistics module installation and spacewalks. She was responsible for the transfer of more than 28,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. Wilson, who hails from Hailing from the central Massachusetts city of Pittsfield, is Harvard educated and has a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas. Wilson considers being a role model to students, and especially young women, a critical part of her job.

A space shuttle with intense, determined eyes…

The Lunar Excursion Module as a bug...

A mercury capsule… a bird… and a plunger.

Sounds like the makings for a few corny jokes, but instead they are the carefully drafted illustrations of celebrated artist and engineer Hank Caruso. He calls them Aerocatures, a unique style of aviation art that draws on the artist’s 35 plus years of aerospace engineering experience. Hank’s creations are more than mere cartoons or funny pictures of airplanes. They are, in fact, complex and accurate depictions of aeronautic marvels, each with their own personality, spirit and attitude.

Hank Caruso: "The airplanes don’t give me that many stories. The aviators are the ones that give me the stories and that’s where I think all of the ideas for the attitude I’m going to give the aircraft and how I’m going to portray them, the pose that I’m going to give them, the scenarios that they’re going to be in. All that comes from the aviator."

Caruso has been designing images for a safety campaign at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. A challenging project, it requires the artist to smoothly blend workspace safety messages into an already complicated technical and creative process.

Hank Caruso: "The challenge of trying to do something that shows a potential safety hazard and the consequences of the hazard in the same picture. There’s one about cleaning up spills. There’s a cup of coffee on the edge of the desk that’s overturned and is running down the side of the desk forming a puddle on the floor. One of the workers has slipped in the coffee, and is going flying through the door, and his beak is up against the nose of a TR2, and barely visible in the right side of the picture is the spill from the cup of coffee that the worker was holding, can just barely see a foot coming into the picture that’s about to slip on that. So I wanted to show past, present, future all in one picture."

A self-taught artist, Hank Caruso is an Artist Fellow of the American Society of Aviation Artists. In 2006, he was designated the 27th Honorary Naval Aviator, placing him in a small fraternity with legendary figures like comedian Bob Hope. His award winning drawings are considered highly collectable and have been presented to NASA notables like: John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and Wally Schirra.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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