NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Jan. 25

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending Jan. 25
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This Week At NASA …

NASA's Earth science program previewed its major activities for 2008. These include the launch of two new Earth-observing missions. OCO, for Orbiting Carbon Observatory, will measure the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to enhance our understanding of this greenhouse gas. The Ocean Surface Topography Mission, or OSTM, will monitor critical changes in ocean currents and heat storage in the world's seas -- and how they could affect our climate.

Alan Stern: "…We have a very healthy development program on our plate. That development program comprises about four billion dollars in hardware, going to orbit to study the earth, its environment and climate change."

In all, NASA's Earth science program will have 21 missions underway in 2008, the better to understand the intricate workings of our home planet.

A team of scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Irvine, have found that ice loss in Antarctica increased by 75 percent over the past 10 years. A speed-up in the flow of its glaciers is to blame, mostly due to warmer ocean waters. Antarctic ice loss is now almost equal to that seen in Greenland.

And, scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies say 2007 was the second hottest year on record. An analysis of global temperature data from last year reveals that 2007 ties that "second hottest year" distinction with 1998. GISS records show that the eight warmest years have all occurred since 1998. The warmest year on record is 2005; NASA scientists predict that record will fall within the next three years.

All systems appear to be "go" for the Feb. 7 launch of space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station. Commanded by Steve Frick, the seven-member STS-122 mission crew will attach and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus Laboratory. Frick's crew is pilot Alan Poindexter, mission specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love, and Léopold Eyharts and Hans Schlegel of the European Space Agency. Liftoff on February 7th is targeted for 2:45 p.m. eastern standard time.

Members of the Expedition 16 crew aboard the International Space Station talked about their mission with students and media back on Earth. Speaking with students from Wichita, Kansas, Commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani encouraged the youngsters to stick to their studies – and aim high.

Peggy Whitson: "… I’m one of those kids that watched the guys walk on the moon and thought, wow what a cool job; I want to do that job. When I graduated from high school, it was the first year they picked female astronauts, and I decided that I wanted to become an astronaut. I went to college of course, and then I got a PhD in biochemistry and immediately after that started working for NASA, but it was ten years of applying many, many times trying to become an astronaut." PAST AND FUTURE - GRC
Two ceremonies at the Glenn Research Center highlighted its history and future. The first commemorated the center's groundbreaking in 1941, when it was established by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as one of three such research centers nationwide. Displayed were the Act of Congress plaque, and the original pick and shovel used at the groundbreaking 67 years ago.

The second ceremony featured the rollout of Glenn's refurbished S-3 Viking aircraft. Following its acquisition from the Navy in 2004, the aircraft underwent extensive modifications. The S-3 has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility for research, such as the effects of icing on aircraft.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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