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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, August 28
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This Week At NASA...

Mars Exploration Rover team members continue their efforts to free Spirit from the soft Martian soil. A team from the Jet Propulsion Lab has developed a second test rover to aid them in their work. The new test rover weighs less than Spirit but, when the gravity on Mars is factored in, is closer to actual conditions on the planet’s surface than the first test vehicle they’d been using.

Ashley Stroupe: "We can try to get more accurate modeling of how a Mars Rover would be interacting with the soil there. And we’re collecting a bunch of data so we can plug it into some dynamic models we have, and try to get a more accurate representation, and be able to predict what the rover is going to be doing on Mars when we try to drive out."

Mobility tests are being conducted in soft soil and crushed rock. They’ll lay the groundwork for a long duration driving test that’ll simulate the distance Spirit needs to cover in order to escape its current predicament. Spirit has been embedded hub deep at a site called "Troy" since May 6.

A new rocket propellant is generating quite a bit of excitement among researchers. Called ALICE for its composition of aluminum powder and water ice, the new propellant is not only environmentally-friendly and safe; it also has the potential to outperform conventional propellants. ALICE was successfully tested by NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research during a recent rocket launch demonstration. ALICE’s high burn rate means it has potential to replace some liquid or solid propellants for flight on Earth or long distance space travel. ALICE could curb mission costs because, rather than be transported as payload, it could be manufactured in places like the moon or Mars.


SOT: 3-2-1 (applause)

The Ames Research Center held a ceremonial groundbreaking and dedication event for what is touted as the highest-performing building in the federal government. The new, environmentally-friendly building is named “Sustainability Base” in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and its Tranquility Base landing site.

S. Pete Worden: "I like to think of this building as not just the greenest in U.S. government, but it’s the first lunar building on earth."

Significant features include near zero net energy consumption, and 90 percent less potable water usage than same sized, conventionally-built buildings.

Lt. Governor, John Garamendi: "What you’re proving is that it’s possible. It’s possible to build a building and make it totally sustainable in every way, to make it a good place to work, a happy place to work, a safe place to work."

The facility will showcase some of NASA’s most advanced intelligent control technologies originally developed to support the nation’s human and robotic space exploration missions. “Sustainability Base” will provide workspace for a wide range of NASA’s aeronautics and space exploration missions.

The Glenn Research Center has received the 2009 Ohio Green Fleets Award for extensively reducing the emission and fuel use in its government vehicles. Presented by the Buckeye State’s Department of Transportation, the award honors the achievements of business and government entities who’ve improved a fleet's overall efficiency and emissions profile.

Sue Kraus: "We were very pleased to hear that Glenn Research Center was going to get the recognition from Ohio Green Fleets because we’ve been working since 1997 on different methods to improve our alternative fuel fleet."

The alternative fuels used at Glenn include compressed natural gas, bio-diesel and E-85, a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline. Seventy-seven percent of Glenn's 125 fleet vehicles use alternative fuels.


Richard Nafzger SOT: "I can’t think of a more appropriate tribute to NASA than to have this award presented tonight, and again, I thank the Academy on behalf of NASA for all of us who played a small role in making this happen. Thank you!"

NASA TV received a special Emmy Award during the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The Philo T. Farnsworth Award commemorates the 40th anniversary of the technological innovations that made possible the first live TV broadcast from the moon on July 20, 1969 by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Buzz Aldrin: "That’s a good step."

Neil Armstrong: "Yep, about a three-footer."

Richard Nafzger: "There were so many elements involved in transmitting TV, not only from a newly developed camera on the moon; through a spacecraft, through multiple tracking sites, processing it and converting it into broadcast television, relaying it through Intelsat, getting it to California, getting through AT&T to Houston and back out to the world."

Buzz Aldrin: "Beautiful View!"

Neil Armstrong: "Isn’t that something. Magnificent sight out here!"

(Ragtime music)

Neil Armstrong: "I’m at the foot of the ladder."

Philo T. Farnsworth is recognized as the inventor of the television tube. At age fourteen, the Utah-born, Idaho farm-boy first dreamed of capturing and transmitting light one line at a time via a beam of electrons. By the time he was 21, Farnsworth had developed the first all-electronic system of television.

In a 1996 interview, his widow recalled watching the first moonwalk with her husband.

Elma Farnsworth: "We were watching it. Phil turned to me and he says ‘Pam this has made it all worthwhile’. Before then, he wasn’t too sure."

Neil Armstrong: "That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

NASA ANNIVERSARY: Sept. 1, 1979 - Pioneer 11: 1st flyby of Saturn - HQ
Thirty years ago on September 1, 1979, Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn. Using Jupiter’s mass as a gravitational slingshot, mission controllers altered the spacecraft’s trajectory toward Saturn and instructed it to explore the planet’s rings.

John MacDonald: "To get a close up view of its magnetic fields, it’s ring structure, the radiation belts around Saturn, and then I think the other highlight has been just the continuing study of how complex life is out there beyond these planets."

Flying within 13,000 miles of Saturn, Pioneer 11’s discoveries included two new moons and a new ring; it also charted the planet’s magnetosphere, magnetic field, and interior structure.

And that's This Week At NASA!

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