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November 1, 2013
This Week @ Nasa, November 1, 2013

“Launch day approaches for NASA’s next Mars mission …”

“A show of power from our Sun …”

“And activity picks up on The International Space Station …Those are some of the stories trending, This Week at NASA!”

Mars mission briefed - KSC

During a news briefing at NASA headquarters officials and scientists discussed MAVEN, the agency's next mission to Mars.

Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN Principal Investigator:
“When we send human missions we want to understand what the structure, the composition is at all parts of the atmosphere, including the upper atmosphere.”

Scheduled to launch November 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, MAVEN will study the history and change of Mars’ atmosphere, climate, and planetary habitability.

Bolden visits Langley – LARC

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden visited Langley Research Center to thank employees for the great work they’re doing and for their patience during the recent government shutdown. Langley's history of aviation research goes back almost a hundred years - to nineteen seventeen.

Power Up – KSC

The Orion spacecraft came to life at Kennedy Space Center as engineers powered up the spacecraft to check out avionics and flight hardware for the very first time. The power-up is a major milestone in Orion’s preparation for a September 2014 flight test.

Solar Flares – GSFC

A power up of another kind from the middle of our solar system. Lots of “X” and “M” class solar flare activity from the Sun recently. We’re protected by our atmosphere from the powerful bursts of radiation, but they can disrupt GPS and other satellite communication signals.

A busy time! - JSC

A busy time at the International Space Station – after delivering over seven tons of cargo, the “Albert Einstein” Automated Transfer Vehicle 4 left on Oct. 28 … not long after, the crew hopped into a Soyuz spacecraft and changed parking spots  -- from the Rassvet module to the Zvezda Service module to make room for the arrival of Expedition 38 and the Olympic Torch. Rick Masstracchio of NASA, Russian Mikhail Tyurin and Koichi Wakata of JAXA – arrive with the torch on November 7 – it returns to Earth with Expedition 36 November 10 and will be used in the Winter Games in Sochi , Russia in February 2014.

Free flight – DFRC/KSC

Although the first approach-and-landing free-flight test of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spacecraft experienced an anomaly with the left landing gear deployment, the high-quality flight and telemetry data through the critical phases of the test will help refine Dream Chaser’s design. SNC is one of three companies working with NASA to develop spaceflight systems that could eventually launch astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.

Ice Flight – WFF/GSFC

Data on seasonal land and sea ice melt in Greenland collected by a NASA C-130 research plane from Wallops Flight Facility may give researchers better context and a more comprehensive view of seasonal changes in the region, when compared with measurements of future satellite missions, such as ICESat-2. The C-130 uses laser sensing technology called LVIS, or Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor, to map terrain.

And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.

For more on these and other stories follow us on social media and visit www.nasa.gov/twan

Page Last Updated: November 1st, 2013
Page Editor: Gary Daines