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Transcript: This Week at NASA, December 17 - 23


Alan Stern Sot: "…We have never been to this exotica of the Kuiper Belt Before."

In the early morning hours of January 15 2006, the Stardust Mission will return to earth after a 2.88 billion mile round trip that began in 1999. The Stardust mission includes the collection of cometary and interstellar dust particles. These materials are believed to consist of ancient pre-solar interstellar grains and nebular that include remnants from the formation of the sun and its planets. With the mission’s return, scientists believe Stardust’s cargo will provide answers to important questions about the origins of the solar system.

Alan Stern Sot: "…I think we're going to learn a great deal about the solar system formation. And about the bombardment history of the solar system, about how double planets work, about how rapidly escaping atmospheres work. There's so many presents inside the bag, I don't know where we're going to begin."


Mission Control Sot: "Station this is Houston, are you ready for the event?"

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur talked about his work on the International Space Station and this holiday season with press from his native North Carolina.

McArthur SOT: "To the folks in Southeastern North Carolina, I'd like to wish every one a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The area where I was born and raised empowered its young people to dream large and gave them the skills, education and support to achieve those dreams."

The tar heel spoke with reporters from the Fayetteville Observer and the Red Springs Citizen. McArthur and his crewmate, Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, enter this holiday season nearly halfway through their six-month mission.

Set to launch in 2006, NASA’s New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the distant Kuiper Belt region. The Spacecraft will swing by Jupiter for a gravity assist and scientific studies in early 2007, then reach the Pluto system as early as mid-2015. After providing the first close-up, detailed look at the farthest planet and its moons, New Horizons will examine one or two of the icy, rocky, ancient objects in the Kuiper Belt.

California's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology delivered its final report at NASA Ames Research Center. Chartered in December, 2004, the task force evaluated the status of nanotechnology in California and made recommendations to ensure the Golden State's leadership in the field. Nanotechnology, the science of manipulating and exploiting the unique properties of matter at the atomic level, is expected to revolutionize medicine, energy, space exploration and more.

Two-hundred-fifty eighth graders from 13 schools participated in the 7th annual Math and Science Odyssey at California's Antelope Valley College. This year's event celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Albert Einstein's miracle year of 1905, when many of his revolutionary physics theories were first published. The event was also renamed the Bohn-Myer Math and Science Odyssey in memory of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center chief engineer Marta Bohn-Myer, who died in the crash of a private plane earlier this year. Bohn-Myer was remembered as a staunch supporter of this event who motivated and inspired students to pursue their dreams.

This photograph won for NASA Dryden's Lori Losey a second place award in the space category from Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. Losey's shot of space shuttle Discovery and its modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft was taken from the rear cockpit of a NASA F/A-18 flown by NASA research pilot Dick Ewers. In seventeen years as a NASA videographer, Losey has documented flight research at the Dryden Flight Research Center and around the world, logging nearly 400 hours of flight time. Losey's also directed television coverage of 14 space shuttle landings at Edwards Air Force Base in California, and was honored in 2-thousand-4 as NASA's Videographer of the Year. Losey's award-winning photo appears in AvWeek's December 19th to 26th issue.

(Photo at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/newsphotos/index.html)

Lead by Expedition 12 Flight Director Sally Davis and Expedition 12 Increment Manager Pete Hasbrook, Space Station Flight Controllers from Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center sent well wishes to the world this holiday season.

Mission Sot: "…From the International Space Station Flight Control Team in Houston, Texas and all of us with Expedition 12, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!"

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