NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending March 28

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending March 28
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This Week At NASA…


Commentator: "Main Gear touchdown…"

The STS-123 crew returned safely to Earth after completing a 16-day journey of nearly 6-and-a-half million miles in space aboard space shuttle Endeavour. The crew commanded by Dom Gorie landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center on March 26th. The mission highlights include the delivery of the Japanese Kibo module and the installation of Canada’s DEXTRE robot.

Michael Griffin: "I can’t Imagine that the mission could of gone any better, and they made it look easy."

STS-123 was the longest shuttle mission to the ISS and included a record five spacewalks. Joining Gorie on the mission were pilot Greg Johnson, and mission specialists Bob Behnken, Mike Foreman, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takao Doi. Reisman remained aboard the space station, replacing Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Léopold Eyharts, who returned with the Endeavour crew. Reisman will return to Earth aboard shuttle Discovery after the completion of STS-124, currently targeted for May 25.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected a surprising organic brew erupting in geyser-like fashion from Saturn's moon Enceladus. Cassini sensed the hot mixture of water and organic chemicals during a close flyby March 12. Scientists are amazed as to why this tiny moon is so active and brimming with some of the essential building blocks needed for life as we know it.

John Spencer: "The closer we look, the more energy we see, the higher temperatures we see, and it entirely possible that there is going to be liquid not too far below the surface."

The preliminary design review for the tennis court-sized sunshield for the James Webb Space Telescope has been completed. The telescope is NASA’s next-generation space observatory. It’s designed to explore phenomena from distant galaxies to nearby planets and stars, from the origins of the universe to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets such as Earth. The Webb telescope will give scientists unprecedented access to unexplored regions of space.

Dr. Harvey Moseley: "The James Webb Telescope is going to be the preeminent scientific tool for the nation in space over the next decade or so."

The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch in 2013.

Fifty-two teams from high schools in California, Arizona and New Hampshire competed in the Los Angeles Region For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Robotics Competition held at the Jet Propulsion Lab. The students designed, built and tested the robots, some of which can stand up to six feet high and weigh up to 120 pounds. In this year's "Overdrive" challenge, student-operated robots scored points by pushing and passing huge rubber balls counterclockwise on a track. JPL engineers worked with several of the teams for more than six weeks and more than 70 JPL employees served as volunteers during the event. Five of the teams, including those sponsored by JPL and the Dryden Flight Research Center, will go on to the world championships slated for April 17 through 19 in Atlanta. FIRST is part of NASA's Robotic Alliance Project.

A half-mile of "moon" paths are being readied at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville for use at the 15th Great Moonbuggy Race April 4th and 5th. 68 teams of 400 high school and college students are expected to compete. They’ll race lightweight moonbuggies built from a design based on the original lunar rover on a moon-like obstacle course of ridges, craters and other lunar features built with plywood, old tires, and 25 tons of gravel and sand. Students from 20 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, India and Germany will participate in the annual event sponsored by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA and the Washington Nationals teamed up for a day of preseason baseball at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, the Nationals spring training home. Kennedy Center Director Bill Parsons was joined by Space Man, the KSC Visitor Complex mascot, to throw out the first pitch. Kennedy personnel answered questions and provided space related educational material to many of the 5-thousand fans who watched the Detroit Tigers beat the Nationals, 5 to 3.

And that's This Week At NASA!
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