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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, April 2
04.2.10
 
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This Week at NASA…

NEW CREWMATES JOIN EXPEDITION 23

Launch Announcer: "Liftoff of Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and Mikhail Kornienko beginning their journey to the International Space Station."

The new members of the Expedition 23 crew began their journey to the International Space Station with a successful launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson will spend the next six months aboard the orbiting complex.

The new arrivals share the Expedition 23 workload with ISS Commander Oleg Kotov, and Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer. When those three, who’ve been on the station since December, return to Earth in June, Dyson and her two Russian crewmates will transition to serve on Expedition 24.

STS-131 COUNTDOWN

Soon on their way to the ISS are the members of the STS-131 crew; they’re scheduled to liftoff with space shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

Bill Gerstenmaier: "It's an extremely thorough review. We went through it fairly methodically. It's a tribute to the team Ready to go fly."

The seven astronauts have a busy 13-day schedule in space. Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson will conduct three six-and-a-half-hour-long spacewalks outside the ISS to replace and retrieve equipment and a Japanese experiment that exposed selected materials to the harsh environment of space. The two are veteran spacewalkers and have worked together during STS-118.

Clay Anderson: "We did about a five-and-a-half-hour EVA. Rick, unfortunately, had a cut in his glove and the cut in his glove necessitated that he get back in the airlock a little earlier than we would have liked and so our EVA was just slightly shorter than what we had nominally expected, but we had a lot of fun, did some very cool things."

Rick Mastracchio: "I'm looking forward to getting out the door again with Clay. He’s great to work with."

The other STS-131 crew members are Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot Jim Dutton and Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

ASTRONAUTS VISIT MICHOUD

The crew of STS-133 was at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to thank its workforce for producing the external tank that'll help fuel space shuttle Discovery’s ascent to the International Space Station later this year.

Commander Steven Lindsey and his crew toured the facility for an up- close-and- personal look at how an external tank is built. Joining Lindsey at a gathering of Michoud employees was Pilot Eric Boe, and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Mike Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott.

Discovery will deliver cargo, equipment and critical spare components to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for September.

STUDYING EARTH’S WEATHER

Students, educators, scientists and the public came together at the Pasadena Convention Center for Climate Day 2010 -- a fun-filled educational event about Earth’s changing climate.

Representatives from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and other organizations gave presentations about environmental factors contributing to global warming.

Mike Gunson: "A lot of teachers and students passing through today have shown a real interest in what we're doing. Their knowledge is very good at the moment. I think a lot of the media has highlighted attention to the greenhouse gases and the need to probably do something about reducing emissions from fossil fuel combustion."

Climate Day also featured hands-on activities, exhibits, demonstrations and games. In addition during a town hall meeting participants were able to quiz experts about the latest research on Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, ice cover, and ecosystems.

PREPARING NEXT GENERATION EXPLORERS

Dozens of teachers are conducting real science in an extreme environment. Through Ames Research Center's Spaceward Bound project, NASA has sent teachers to California State University's Desert Study Center in Zzyzx. Here, on the edge of the barren Mojave Desert, they help conduct NASA-related field science. The data and knowledge they glean at Zzyzx will be used to develop experiments, demonstrations and lesson plans for their students.

Chris McKay: "And the lesson we want them to learn is what it's like to explore environments that are remote, but interesting, like the moon, like Mars. And to take hat lesson back into their classrooms, teach it to their students, because those students are going to be the astronauts that are actually going to do that exploration on the moon and Mars when we finally go there." Another Spaceward Bound scheduled for mid-April in Namibia will focus on hypoliths, a photosynthetic organism that lives underneath rocks in extreme desert environments.

And that's This Week at NASA!

For more on these and other stories, log onto: www.nasa.gov
 
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