NASA Podcasts

NASA TV's This Week @NASA, May 14
05.14.10
 
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This Week at NASA…

A CALL TO ACTION

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joined with other NASA volunteers in helping these fifth graders become rocket scientists for day.

The students at the Langdon Elementary School in Washington built and test flew their own paper rockets using a high-power paper rocket launcher.

The adventure was part of National Lab Day. The nationwide initiative is a call to action for university students, scientists, engineers and volunteers to help educators expose their kindergarten through twelfth-grade students to discovery-based science experiments. A veteran of four space shuttle flights, Administrator Bolden also spoke with the students about the excitement of his missions.

Charlie Bolden: "It gives these kids an opportunity to see something that they can only imagine or sometimes they can’t even imagine because they haven’t been exposed to it, and that’s why I think it’s absolutely fantastic. We’ve had a number of schools in which NASA engineers and scientists have gone out into the community and have really turned the schools around, have made a dramatic difference in the performance of the students and in the ability of the teachers to teach because it helps the teachers to become very comfortable with the concepts of math, science, physics, engineering and that’s what it’s all about."

ASSESSING IMPACT

NASA assets continue to help scientists track two events causing worldwide environmental and economic concern. NASA's instrumented research aircraft, the Earth Resources-2, or ER-2, has been deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to do flyovers of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill and the coastline it threatens. The agency is also making extra satellite observations and conducting additional data processing to help U.S. disaster response agencies assess the spread and impact of the slick.

Meanwhile, NASA's Aqua satellite is keeping an eye on Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull Volcano. The spacecraft's Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS Instrument is grabbing pictures of the volcano’s ash plume to help airlines and air traffic control systems worldwide monitor its size and direction. ISS PROGRAM HONORED WITH COLLIER TROPHY – HQ NASA's International Space Station Program has been awarded the 2009 Collier Trophy, considered aviation’s highest honor. The National Aeronautic Association, the country’s oldest national aviation organization, bestowed the prestigious award on the ISS team not only for its design, development and assembly of the world’s largest spacecraft, but also for the complex’s promising discoveries and pioneering new standards for international cooperation in space.

Accepting the award on behalf of the ISS team was NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.

Lori Garver : "I truly am standing on the shoulders of giants. I, of course, have only been back to NASA for 10 months and while I was there in the 90’s, was not an integral part of the space station teams. So, while I was always a cheerleader, which shouldn’t be a surprise to all you, I was never that top girl on the mount, so tonight I feel like I am standing on the shoulders of so, so many of you who really deserve this prize and have contributed to the International Space Station’s success. So many of you in the room tonight have made this possible for NASA and it is really your award."

A joint project of NASA, and the space agencies of Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan, the International Space Station is nearing completion and, later this year, will mark its tenth anniversary of a continuous human presence in orbit.

"TOUCHDOWN" TRACKING

Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers used a helicopter to run a series of tests of the Mars Science Laboratory's landing system. The MSL will use radar to descend on a parachute and, during the final seconds before landing, lower the upright rover on a tether to the surface, much like a sky crane. These tests will collect data over various terrains simulating their options on the Martian surface. Once landed, the rover will be able to roll over obstacles up 29 inches high and travel up to 295 feet per hour. Currently in its assembly and testing phase, MSL is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2011 and arrive at the Red Planet the following summer to usher in the next decade of Mars exploration.

STUDENTS APPLY REAL SCIENCE

Thanks to a program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville-area students are helping scientific and community leaders make better-informed decisions about Lyme disease and how and where this chronic illness is likely to strike the local public. Through the DEVELOP applied sciences program, the students performed fieldwork and used remote-sensing data provided by Marshall to analyze soil moisture and vegetation at 12 locations in the Talladega National Forest in north-central Alabama.

Jeffrey Luvall: "In the Develop program that I'm mentoring, we're really focusing on public health benefits. One might think what's NASA doing in public health? In actuality, many of the problems in public health rely on some kind of spatial information to solve their problems or to inform the public. With NASA satellite data and models, it’s an ideal combination to go into the public health community and provide them information that they need to do their job." Results of their satellite imagery analysis showed areas of dense vegetation overlapped with high soil moisture - likely tick habitats. The students also learned how to share their data with the scientific community and the public. Sponsored by NASA’s Applied Science Program, DEVELOP encourages students to not only pursue careers in technical fields, but also help the public through expanded use of information obtained by NASA satellites.

HUBBLE BOOK

A new book highlighting some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is now available in stores and online.

"Hubble: A Journey Through Space and Time," features the observatory's spectacular visual legacy in stunning images that include what many consider are its 20 most important scientific findings to date.

Ed Weiler: "They range from planets in our solar system to regions where stars and planets are being born right now, and just the opposite, regions where stars are dying right now to nearby galaxies to black holes in the center of galaxies, and clusters of galaxies, and then out to the very earliest galaxy. So, it's really like a time tunnel, a walk through the universe and looking back in time." The classic images, all selected by NASA astronomers, show stars being born and dying; galaxies colliding and reforming; and the young universe in the throes of creation.

Also contained in this authoritative account of the observatory that's revolutionized astronomy and photography are comments from scientists and veteran astronauts who manned NASA's five space shuttle missions to repair and maintain the telescope. NASA ANNIVERSARY – SKYLAB LAUNCH – May 14, 1973

Thirty-seven years ago, America's first space station, Skylab, was launched into Earth orbit from the Kennedy Space Center atop a Saturn V rocket. A "dry," or empty, third stage of the rocket was completely outfitted as a workshop and laboratory. Accessing Skylab in Apollo spacecraft, three, three-man crews occupied the space station for a total of 171 days and 13 hours. Nearly 300 scientific, technical and medical experiments were conducted in the Skylab. On July 11, 1979 the empty spacecraft disintegrated as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere scattering debris over the Indian Ocean and a remote region of Western Australia.

And that's This Week at NASA!

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