NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending June 13

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending June 13
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This Week At NASA…

George Diller: "Liftoff of the Delta Rocket carrying GLAST, a Gamma-ray telescope searching for unseen physics in the stars of the galaxies."

NASA’s Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope began its high-energy mission with a successful liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Gamma rays are the highest form of energy in the Universe, with millions of times more energy than the light we see with our eyes. GLAST will allow scientists to better understand what causes and powers black holes and other mysterious high-energy phenomena.

Steven Ritz: "What we see when we look at other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum is very different from what we see with our natural eyesight. And by building instruments to aid, using our brains to build instruments to aid our natural senses, we’re able to learn so much more about the universe."

Over the next six weeks, GLAST's instruments will be turned on and calibrated before being turned over to the mission's science team for the spacecraft’s five year mission of exploration.

Clumpy soil. That was an early problem encountered by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander when it couldn't deliver a soil sample to its on-board laboratory because of its clumpy consistency. But Phoenix team scientists at the University of Arizona will overcome a repeat of the problem with a sprinkling technique that should ultimately help them learn what's in this and subsequent samples collected at the northern polar region of Mars.

A NASA/European Space Agency mission to study the sun's poles is ending after 17 productive years. The Ulysses spacecraft was launched in October 1990 aboard space shuttle Discovery. Propelled towards Jupiter, Ulysses eventually settled into a permanent orbit around the sun to explore its heliosphere. Originally designed for five years, the mission lasted more than 17. The vast amount of data Ulysses returned changed how scientists view the sun and its effect on the space surrounding it.

NASA and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington have unveiled a new exhibit. "Space: A Journey to Our Future" highlights current space exploration, from satellites to telescopes to space habitats. The exhibit also looks ahead to future human space travel. Visitors can see what it may be like to live in a lunar base camp, and get close to a model of Orion, the spacecraft that'll take human explorers back to the moon.

Joyce Winterton: "This exhibit at this extraordinary museum truly has the potential to inspire America’s future scientists, engineers, and technicians and explorers."

"Space: a Journey to Our Future" is at the Air and Space Museum through early next year.

Employees at the Marshall Space Flight Center took part in its annual "Take Our Children to Work Day." Youngsters from elementary to high school age immersed themselves in the NASA experience. Highlights included conducting science experiments and touring the Payload Operations Center, where NASA personnel manage science and communications on the International Space Station. The children also got a look at a scale model of the Ares l rocket that'll send human explorers to the moon to set up a permanent lunar outpost.

The winners have been selected in NASA's 50th Anniversary Essay Contest. Seventh grader Jackson Warley of the Renaissance Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., took the first prize of a $5,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Kennedy Space Center to view a space shuttle launch. Warley and other middle and junior high school students from around the world described in 500 words or less the benefits of 50 years of NASA technology on everyday life 'til now, or 50 years into the future. To read Warley's and the other winning essays, visit:

And that's This Week At NASA!

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