NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending July 25

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

Marshall Space Flight Center Earth Scientist Daniel Irwin has received the Charles S. Falkenberg Award for ground-breaking work using satellite imagery. Irwin created an unprecedented monitoring and visualization system that's shared among scientists, scientific agencies, and governments in Central America and the Dominican Republic. Called SERVIR, "to serve" in Spanish, the system has harnessed Earth imagery from space to help disaster responses to hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, algal blooms and other crises across Central America. Irwin is now working to build similar systems and international collaborations in other developing regions of the world, like East Africa. The award is named for Charles Falkenberg, a noted computer scientist who advanced techniques for collecting and visualizing earth and environmental science data. He, his wife, and their two young daughters lost their lives when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The STS-124 crew stopped by the Stennis Space Center to talk to employees about their recent mission. Commander Mark Kelly and pilot Ken Ham, and Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan and Mike Fossum gave a presentation to employees that included video highlights from their 13-day trip to the International Space Station. Fourteen Stennis employees received NASA’s Space Flight Awareness award for their dedication to quality work and flight safety in support of STS-124.

Three former Expedition crew members visited the Marshall Space Flight Center. Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani, and Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson shared their experiences aboard the International Space Station with Marshall employees and local high school students.

Student: "Any tips or suggestions for kids that want to be astronauts when they grow up?"

Peggy Whitson: "Well, I think probably the most important thing for a young person who wants to become an astronaut is they should pick a field in math, science or engineering, one that they really enjoy and really like because you need to be able to do really well in whatever field that is."

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington celebrated Mars Day with tens of thousands of visitors interested in exploring the mysteries of the Red Planet. Museum-goers participated in a variety of activities such as maneuvering a small robotic rover, studying the latest images from the Red Planet in 3-D, and operating a robotic arm.

Jamal Thompson: "These are robotic arms. So, what they can do is they can move the joints on the robot arm by switching each component on the controller and she’s going to release the block into the cup so it’s pretty good idea of what it’s like to control a robot arm on Mars."

Visitors also had opportunities to talk one-one-one with scientists about recent Mars missions and discoveries.

John Grant, CEPS: "The public is really fascinated with Mars; they always have been. This is a way for us to show all these exciting discoveries, the Phoenix Lander, for example, the Mars Rovers, and all those sorts of things we can bring to the public and explain to them how things work."

Carla Bitter, University of Arizona: "This is Phoenix’s robotic arm; so it’s a lot like your arm. It’s got a shoulder and it’s got an elbow and it's a wrist down here with a scoop. We take the sample and program it to come and deliver the sample to one of two instruments on the deck."

Mars Day is held annually to mark the July 1976 landing of NASA’s Viking 1, the first spacecraft to safely put down on the Martian surface.

A group of middle school math teachers from NASA Explorer Schools around the country recently journeyed to the Marshall Space Flight Center. They attended seminars and training sessions conducted by Marshall educators on how to integrate the mathematics of space flight into their curricula. The NES Program is a three-year partnership between NASA and schools in diverse and underserved communities offering opportunities and materials for teachers to spark student interest in science, technology and math.

The Goddard Space Flight Center celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first American woman in space -- former astronaut Sally Ride. Sally Ride: "You know when I was little girl I always dreamed of flying in space and twenty-five years ago that dream came true. And, it’s through your hard work and your imagination, your creativity and your dedication, that all of you will be able to reach for the stars and achieve your dreams too."

The event kicked off a three-day educator conference called "Earth Then, Earth Now: Our Changing Climate" which focused on understanding climate change in the 25 years since Ride’s historic shuttle flight – and what changes are predicted over the next 25 years. The conference was sponsored by NASA, Sally Ride Science, NOAA, the National Science Teacher’s Association, and the Department of Energy.

The Glenn Research Center welcomed back more than 300 of its retirees from Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station for Reunion 2008. The two-day event celebrating NASA’s 50th anniversary included a breakfast and picnic with current Glenn employees. The former employees were also briefed on current work being done at Glenn in aeronautics, green energy, and for Constellation, NASA’s program to return to the moon – and beyond.

The Ames Research Center celebrated the 39th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing with an event open to the public. The festivities included panel discussions about the moon, screening of documentaries and films on the Apollo program and activities for children and adults. The event preceded a three-day Lunar Science Conference to highlight the Constellation program and the new opportunities for scientific research of the moon.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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