NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Aug. 10

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Aug. 10
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This Week at NASA …

With help from the data gathered by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists may have identified the source of one of Saturn's more mysterious rings. The G ring, the fifth of Saturn's rings to be discovered, is likely produced by large, icy particles that reside within a bright arc on its inner edge. Micrometeoroids collide with the ice particles to release smaller, dust-sized particles that brighten the arc. The plasma in the giant planet's magnetic field continually sweeps through this arc, dragging out the fine particles to create the G ring.

(Pix at

TC 4 - ARC
NASA's Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling project – TC4 -- is finishing more than three weeks of weather-related research in Costa Rica. There, TC4 scientists have been using high-flying NASA research aircraft, balloons, ground-based radar and satellite data to measure gases, aerosols and ice crystals. These phenomena flow from the top of strong storm systems forming over warm tropical ocean waters. The storm systems can influence the makeup of Earth's ozone layer and the amount of infrared energy trapped in the Earth's atmosphere. The project will ultimately help scientists better understand how the Earth will react to a warming climate.

A new software program is providing online users a unique look at space shuttle Endeavour and other Kennedy Space Center sights. The software, called Photosynth, puts together hundreds of high resolution NASA photographs of Endeavour, Launch Pad 39A and the Vehicle Assembly Building, allowing viewers to navigate around a scene at different angles. NASA and Microsoft's Live Labs team developed the online experience. The NASA images can be viewed at:

Twenty-six middle school students attended the first "Expedition -1 Base Camp" at the Dryden Flight Research Center. The participants were NASA cadets for the week and learned about NASA's space and aeronautics missions. The cadets investigated the challenges in journeying to and sustaining life on the moon and Mars. One activity focused on Newton's Laws of Motion and their application to rocket building.

Cadet SOT: "One, two…"

Students also heard from former NASA astronauts Gordon Fullerton and Vance Brand, who shared their out-of-this-world experiences.

Thirty years ago this week, former astronaut Gordon Fullerton, currently associate director of flight operations at the Dryden Flight Research Center, played a major role in the development of the space shuttle program. Before the shuttle could orbit Earth, NASA had to prove it could safely land here. On August 12, 1977, Fullerton and fellow astronaut Fred Haise piloted the first free flight by the prototype space shuttle Enterprise. The orbiter successfully descended from 24,100 feet in five minutes, 21 seconds. This was the first of five Approach and Landing Test flights conducted at Dryden.

And, 47 years ago this week, NASA had its first successful launch of an Echo satellite. Echo 1 was a large metallized balloon on which communications signals could be bounced from one point on Earth to another. During its successful orbit, Echo 1 was used to direct transcontinental and intercontinental telephone, radio and television signals. For this mission, a special message from President Eisenhower was recorded and beamed to Echo 1 and back. It began…

President Eisenhower SOT: "This is President Eisenhower speaking. It is a great personal satisfaction to participate in this first experiment in communications involving the use of a satellite balloon known as Echo."

And that's This Week At NASA!
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