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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, August 27
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This Week at NASA…
KEPLER’S NEW FIND - ARC
William Borucki: "We’re announcing today our first discovery of a proven pair of planets orbiting a single star."
NASA's Kepler Mission has discovered the first confirmed planetary system, outside of our own, that has more than one planet transiting the same star. Scientists have named the sun-like star at the center of this newly-discovered planetary system Kepler-9. The two planets have been designated Kepler 9b and 9c. The announcement of their discovery comes after seven months of observations by the Kepler spacecraft.
William Borucki: "The transit timing method works by having the timing of the planet when it goes in front of the star, the star dims. So we measure that time and we measure when it happens again. That’s the orbital period. If that varies a little bit, that tells us about the planets that are orbiting that star."
The Kepler mission continuously monitors more than 156,000 stars for subtle brightness changes as part of its ongoing search for Earth-like planets outside our solar system.
MARS ON EARTH - ARC
NASA scientists joined with international researchers in the Canadian Arctic to test concepts for future planetary exploration. The annual Haughton-Mars Project centers on the Haughton Crater on Devon Island, Canada. The arid, rocky environment has geological features and microbiology similar to what explorers might encounter on other planetary bodies.
Dr. Mathew Deans: "We are trying to learn new ways integrate humans and robots into more productive teams."
This year’s study focused on how remotely-operated robots could save astronauts time and effort on other worlds.
"HOOT" HONORED - DFRC
Former NASA space shuttle astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson was honored recently by the Lancaster JetHawks California League baseball team during its annual Aerospace Appreciation Night. Gibson, a veteran of five space shuttle missions, threw out the first pitch at a JetHawks game, followed by a flyover by a NASA F/A-18. Many of the fans in attendance received bobbleheads in Gibson's likeness, mounted on a space shuttle base.
After retiring from the astronaut corps, Gibson flew jetliners for Southwest Airlines for 10 years. He keeps his flying skills sharp today as a pilot at the National Championship Air Races.
NASA’s EARTH SCIENCE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTED- HQ
Avatar director, James Cameron is featured in new public service announcements that tout NASA’s contributions to environmental awareness, and the exploration of our home planet. “Avatar” centers on a beautiful planet threatened by the exploitation of its natural resources.
The PSAs feature "Avatar" film imagery and computer animations based on data from NASA's fleet of Earth-observing satellites. The orbiting spacecraft provide cutting-edge data of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, snow and ice.
The PSAs are showing on NASA TV and are available on nasa.gov and NASA’s Youtube page.
NASA NIGHT AT THE ZEPHYRS - SSC
NASA headed to the ballpark for a Friday night outing with the New Orleans Zephyrs baseball team. Stennis Space Center Director Patrick Scheuermann threw out the first pitch and the crowd was treated to a visit by a special guest – a larger than life astronaut. Fans also stopped by a NASA exhibit to learn more about how NASA technology has helped shape everyday life, including the sports-related spinoffs that have come from NASA research.
"STAR WARS" CELEBRATION - KSC
NASA recently ventured to a galaxy not so far, far away to share its real-life accomplishments and future goals with the filmmakers, actors and fans of the "Star Wars" saga at the Star Wars V Celebration in Orlando, Florida.
Anthony Daniels, "C-3PO": "And it's always been a quest of man to look up and wonder what is beyond that black and blue space."
Thirty-three years after it debut in theatres, "Star Wars" remains a cultural icon that stirs our imaginations about space and exploration. The NASA booth reminded visitors how, during that same time, America’s space program has continued to change and improve people’s lives here on Earth while exploring what lies beyond.
Gary Kurtz, Producer, "Star Wars": "It's been very influential in getting people to realize that there is a whole future for the whole space operation and what has done up until now. The moon landings of course were very important but I think more recently the whole Hubble telescope and the space station have been very good keys for people that this work is really important."
And that's This Week at NASA!
For more on these and other stories, log onto: www.nasa.gov
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