NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Oct. 12

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Oct. 12
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This Week At NASA …


(nat sound launch)

"Launch Announcer SOT: Lift-off of the Soyuz Rocket and Expedition 16 to the International Space Station."

The Expedition 16 Crew, in the early days of a six-month mission, is led by Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station. Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko are on their second tour of duty aboard the orbiting complex. Flight Engineer Daniel Tani will join them later in the month when he arrives with the STS-120 Crew. Malaysian Spaceflight Participant Sheikh Muzaphar Shukor who traveled with the Expedition 16 Crew will return to Earth October 21st in a Soyuz capsule with the Expedition 15 crew of Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov.


The six-member STS-120 crew and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel Tani were at the Kennedy Space Center for a launch dress rehearsal. During the terminal countdown demonstration test the Crew and ground teams simulate countdown activities and familiarize themselves with equipment and emergency procedures. The STS-120 Crew is Commander Pam Melroy, Pilot George Zamka, Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Douglas Wheelock and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Launch is scheduled for October 23.


This Martian site is under evaluation for a possible landing by a new rover, the Mars Science Laboratory scheduled for launch in 2009. The site, which is located in the Nili Fossae region of Mars, was photographed from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter by its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera or HI RISE. The MRO's team has posted online 142 images of 30 candidate landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory. To see them, log onto


The dark side of Saturn's moon Iapetus seems to be home to an unusual "runaway" process that gives it its mysterious two-toned appearance. Images taken on a recent close flyby by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal in detail the effects of what scientists believe is "thermal segregation": the transportation of vaporized water ice from the dark areas to the white areas of the Saturnian moon. Cassini's images also show Iapetus' equatorial ridge and its heavily cratered surface.


Cassini has also provided these new views of the hydrocarbon lakes and seas in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon, Titan. Scientists say that, as it rains methane and ethane there, these liquids collect on the surface, filling the lakes and seas. Lakes and seas are very common on these northern regions of Titan, which is in winter now. This radar image comprised from seven Titan flybys over the last year and a half shows a north pole pitted with giant bodies of water. At least one of them is larger than Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake on Earth.


At the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory atop Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, work on the Kepler Input Catalog is nearing completion. Using two telescopes, the Kepler team is selecting the 100,000 target stars the spacecraft will observe after its launch in 2009. Kepler is a spaceborne telescope designed to survey distant stars to determine the prevalence of Earthlike planets. It will be the first mission that enables humans to find planets as large as the Earth as well smaller ones. Kepler will monitor the brightness of stars to find planets that pass in front of them during the planets' orbits. During such passes the planets will slightly decrease the star's brightness. Measuring this brief dimming will help scientists detect Earth-sized and smaller planets where liquid water can exist.



During a special event at the National Air and Space Museum, 2006 Nobel Prize winner -- NASA Chief Scientist, John Mather, presented a replica of his award to Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and the Museum's Director John Dailey. Mather received his Nobel in Physics last year for his collaborative work on understanding the Big Bang origin of the Universe.


The late astronaut Roger Chaffee was honored with NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award. Chaffee's wife Martha accepted the award at ceremonies held at Chaffee's alma mater, Purdue University. The award, a moon rock encased in Lucite, recognizes NASA's first generation of space explorers from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Purdue is known as the "cradle of astronauts, with 22 graduates going on to become NASA astronauts. Chaffee died on January 27, 1967, in the Apollo 1 spacecraft fire during a launch pad test at the Kennedy Space Center. Mrs. Chaffee presented the award, which will be on permanent display at Purdue, during halftime of the Purdue-Ohio State football game.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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