NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Oct. 26

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Oct. 26
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This Week At NASA …

The devastating wildfires blazing throughout southern California were the focus of four different sets of NASA eyes-in-the-sky. These images of the California coast from north of Los Angeles to southeast of San Diego were captured by NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. Each new image shows how rapidly these fires spread over the parched region. Vast plumes of thick smoke are seen billowing over the Pacific Ocean.

As it flew over some of the areas wind-whipped wildfires, NASA's unmanned Ikhana research aircraft collected detailed thermal-infrared imagery and transmitted it to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. California's Office of Emergency Preparedness had requested the use of the modified Predator-B aircraft. Ikhana's Infrared can pinpoint hot spots on the ground hidden from view by heavy smoke.

And this perspective of the drought-and-fire stricken areas came from the International Space Station as it orbited miles above the Earth.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has produced a remarkable new image that shows how complex a star’s afterlife can be. The image was made by observing a supernova remnant for a prolonged period of time. By studying its details, astronomers get a better understanding of how, when some stars die, they disperse elements like oxygen to help form the next generation of stars and planets.

A camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered a narrow belt of moonlets in Saturn's outermost "A" ring. The images revealed a series of eight wakes that suggest the presence of the moonlets, each about the size of a football stadium. A moonlet is a small moonlike object that orbits other "small" bodies in the universe. A team of University of Colorado astronomers theorizes that the moonlets were probably formed eons ago when a larger moon was destroyed by a wayward comet or asteroid. The team adds that there likely are thousands of moonlets in the "A" ring moonlet belt, some as small as a semi-trailer, others as large as a sports arena.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was the featured speaker at the 19th annual Von Braun Memorial Dinner in Huntsville. The dinner celebrates the memory of Werner Von Braun, whose team designed the Saturn rockets that put astronauts on the moon.

Michael Griffin: "Only a few months before he died Von Braun wrote the following: While the members of this magnificent team changed with time, the fundamental characteristics of the team itself never did. It always has been characterized by enthusiasm, professionalism, skill, imagination, a sense of perfectionism and dedication to rocketry and space exploration." The dinner is sponsored by the National Space Club. The group presented its annual awards in space flight, astronautics, community service, media, aerospace education and scholarship.

Mike Curie: "Booster ignition and liftoff of Discovery hoisting Harmony to theheavens and opening new gateways for international science."

That announcement of Discovery's liftoff was made by Space Shuttle launch commentator, Mike Curie. STS-120 was Curie's first mission as launch commentator. So, to mark the occasion, NASA Launch Director Mike Leinbach afforded Curie treatment usually reserved for a NASA Test Director after his or her first launch: he cut off the rookie's tie.

Curie said he had no idea the tie would undergo this traditional sacrifice, but added it was well worth it!

And that's This Week At NASA!
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