NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending August 29

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending August 29
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This Week At NASA…


"There’s out new Spitzer Image?"

The unveiling of a new, spectacular image captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope helped the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles celebrate the five year anniversary of the spacecraft’s launch.

The glitzy image is just the latest eye-opening new view of the universe seen by Spitzer in infrared light. The Spitzer mission’s many accomplishments include imaging the farthest known galaxies, breakthroughs in understanding the lives of stars, and detecting light for the first time from exoplanets, planets orbiting other stars.

The activities at the Observatory included lectures on astronomy, a Spitzer information booth, and a 140-foot-long Spitzer image of our own Milky Way galaxy.


(NAT: Applause)

Members of the STS-124 crew were in Huntsville to present Silver Snoopy Awards to 22 Marshall Space Flight Center employees. Commander Mark Kelly, Mission Specialists Ron Garan and Aki Hoshide honored employees with the prestigious astronaut corps award for their contributions to the human space flight program.

Mark Kelly: Silver Snoopy is our award that’s only given out by the astronaut office. It’s been around for a long time. The Apollo astronaut wanted a symbol we could use to thank the people that really have an impact on flight safety.

The event was held at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Retired NASA test pilot Bill Dana was honored by the Lancaster Jethawks at the California League baseball team’s annual Aerospace Appreciation Night. Dana was given an ovation by fans during a pre-game drive around Clear Channel Stadium’s warning track.

Dana was the first employee to be hired by NASA at its Dryden facility the day the agency began operations on Oct. 1, 1958. His distinguished career in research flying and engineering at the Dryden Flight Research Center spanned four decades. Among the high-risk missions Dana flew was the X-15 rocket plane.

The first 1,000 fans attending the Jethawks game received a bobblehead doll in Dana's likeness.

The puffin population of Iceland’s Westman Islands has been shrinking; locals say climate change is jeopardizing the food supply of these colorful-billed sea birds.

Maria Frostic: "It's a sand deal(sp). It’s a tiny fish that Puffins have depended upon for years and they depend on phytoplankton for survival. For the last ten years, SeaWifs has monitored phytoplankton and as sea surface temperatures have been increasing in the last decade, it turns out levels of phytoplankton have been decreasing, so they are beginning to see this link between global climate change and global levels of phytoplankton."

Always intrigued by nature and science, Maria Frostic saw this as a fascinating and timely subject for a documentary. Frostic took two months leave from her job as Earth Science Producer at the Goddard Space Flight Center to travel to Iceland and extensively film the puffins at their Westman Island nesting grounds. To be as unobtrusive as possible, Frostic shot from a vantage point high above the colony, pulling herself up the precarious cliff sides using old ropes hung there by natives.

Maria Frostic: "I worked with some fantastic biologists who were very welcoming; invited into the field and I got to document their work which was really fantastic."

Frostic's documentary, "Plight of the Puffins," recently aired on PBS. The Fulbright Scholar from Richmond, Virginia hopes to find additional audiences for her 13-minute film about the anything-but-happy outlook for these clownish-looking birds.


Launch Announcer: "We have ignition and we have liftoff."

Twenty-five years ago, this week, on August 30, 1983, Guy Bluford became the first African American in space as a crew member of STS-8, the first shuttle mission to launch and land at night. STS-8 deployed an Indian satellite and conducted a variety of scientific and medical experiments and measurements. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bluford became a NASA astronaut in August, 1979, and flew three more shuttle flights after his history-making mission.

Guy Bluford: "All of them were exciting missions where we did very different things, but things for which I feel very proud to have participated with those teams."

And that's This Week At NASA!

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