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This Week @ NASA, January 20, 2012
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This Week @NASA...

The twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory spacecraft formerly known as GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, have new names.

name announcements: “Give me an E … give me an F … give me a B … give me an L … give me a B … give me an O … give me an & … give me a W … what have we got? Ebb & Flow... “

The students at Emily Dickinson elementary in Bozeman, Montana announced the new names, Ebb and Flow, live on NASA TV after winning a nationwide contest to re-name the spacecraft.

Nina DiMauro, Teacher, Emily Dickinson Elementary, Bozeman, Montana: “Science is such an abstract study, so being part of naming something makes it real. It gives them ownership and real involvement in space exploration.”

Maria Zuber, GRAIL Principal Investigator: “They noted the fact that GRAIL is going to be studying gravity on the Moon and that the effect of gravity on the Earth is seen every day in terms of tides that we have on the Earth. So, they chose “Ebb” and “Flow” because it was the daily example of how the Moon’s gravity is working on the Earth.”

Ebb and Flow have been flying together in orbit around the moon since New Year’s Day – collecting data designed to create a gravity map of the moon. Their mission will enable scientists to learn more about the moon, from crust to core, thus providing a better understanding of its origin.

Public Address Announcer: “Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the future home of Space Shuttle Atlantis.”

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility that will feature Space Shuttle Atlantis. Plans for the 65,000 square-foot building include treating visitors to imagery of the space shuttle in flight, up close views of Atlantis and details about how the spacecraft functioned in space.

Chris Ferguson, Retired NASA Astronaut/STS-135 Commander: “Atlantis’ mission in space is over, but its mission to inspire generations of potential space travelers is just beginning. And this facility will no doubt attract hundreds of thousands over the coming years.”

While construction is underway on its new home, Atlantis continues its transition and retirement processing in a hangar at KSC. The new Atlantis display is scheduled to open in 2013.

Announcer: “Ladies and gentlemen welcome to JPL for the 14th annual Invention Challenge.”

When the Invention Challenge first started 14 years ago, it was just a competition of engineering creativity between JPLers Now, local middle schools and high schools have joined the contest and the student teams outnumber JPL teams, 3 to1.

Announcer: “The Invention Challenge this year was to build a machine that could kick a football over a barrier and into a can. Simple? We’ll see how simple it is.”

Each team got 3 tries in a minute to kick a football into the trashcan. If it made it, the team got 50 points. 30 points, if it hit the rim, 25 if it hit the side, and 10 points if it bounced inside the circle around the can.

Referee: “Contestants ready? Spotters ready? Timers ready? 3-2-1- go!”

Cameron Goodale, Invention Challenge JPL Team Winner: “We were the first JPL team up. We were a little nervous and it went in 3 times in a row. The high school kids, I think there’s about four on the board right now that have gone three for three. I hope we don’t have to compete against them because their machines are way better than ours.”

The student team competition ended in double overtime and two sudden death kickoffs.

“Ready, 3-2-1...”

Culver City High won with a rim shot.

Culver City High School-Invention Challenge Team Winners: “What sort of lessons are you going to take with you? Simple is always better. Oh yeah! Duct tape. Duct tape is the best.”

James Chondruang Culver City High School-Team Winners: “Today we faced a lot of challenges. Some of the stuff on our project broke like the laser level we were supposed to use and so we had to just adapt and try to fight through it.”

Paul Macneal, JPL Invention Challenge Founder: “I think what we’re trying to show is that engineering can be fun and we hope that the students that like this kind of an event pursue it because we really want to produce the next generation of engineers.”

CADY IN CLEVELAND – GRC, Bill Fletcher Reporting
Astronaut Cady Coleman made several appearances in the Cleveland area, including the International Women’s Air & Space Museum. Coleman, who has logged more than 43-hundred hours in space, spoke about her two missions aboard Space Shuttle Columbia, as well as her six months on the International Space Station with the Expedition 26/27 crew.

Cady Coleman, NASA Astronaut:“And I think that a museum like this where we make history become real. We realize that history is made by real people, and in this case, real women. It enables us to understand that we’re part of making history too.

Coleman was joined by astronaut Greg Johnson, now associate director for external programs at Glenn. Johnson piloted two missions aboard space shuttle Endeavour, including its final flight in the spring of 2011 on STS-134.

If you’ve ever wished upon a star --- or at least, wished you could keep track of the shooting stars you see in the night sky – there’s now a new mobile application for just that. NASA’s new Meteor Counter app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch allows star watchers to record data about the meteors they see – including their numbers, sky location, brightness and the specific time they were spotted. You can even record your comments about the sighting! Users can then send all the info to NASA for use in identifying new meteor showers, pinpointing comet debris streams and mapping the asteroids orbiting Earth.

A new exhibit at New York's American Museum of Natural History depicts the past, present and future of space exploration. Featured among the display of dinosaur bones and other artifacts usually displayed in a museum of natural history, is the work of the Hubble Space Telescope. HST has unlocked countless mysteries in space while providing links to understanding more about the past here on Earth.

John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator, Science Directorate: “The Hubble Space Telescope is looking at the natural history of the universe. When we use the Hubble, we're able to look back in history, not the few thousand years or the few million years of what the rest of this museum talks about, but the billions of years, the history of how the chemical elements that made the dinosaurs were created.”

Mike Massimino, NASA Astronaut: “I think it's a great way for us to get the word out about what we're doing and I think particularly with the space shuttle program ending and a lot of people are thinking NASA is not necessarily that active anymore but we really are.”

NASA Anniversary: 26TH ANNIVERSARY OF VOYAGER 2’S URANUS FLYBY - January 24, 1986
On January 24, 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft made a successful flyby of Uranus, returning about 8,000 images of the planet and its moons. Both launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have explored all the giant planets of our outer solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; 48 of their moons; and the unique system of rings and magnetic fields surrounding those planets. Decades, and many billions of miles later, both Voyagers are continuing their journeys to the boundaries of the solar system.

January 26 is NASA’s 2012 Day of Remembrance. On this day, we honor the 17 astronauts of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family, who lost their lives supporting the agency’s mission of exploration. Once more, we thank them and the families they left behind for their sacrifices in the service of our nation.

And that’s This Week @NASA.

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