Space shuttle Discovery is moving along through its processing schedule for the launch of STS-133 targeted for Nov. 1.
Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida performed successful tests recently on the Orbital Maneuvering System flight control and main computer system, as well as the landing gear. Today's work includes the brakes and anti-skid on the shuttle's landing gear.
The crew of STS-133 is on summer vacation this week.
This Chandra image shows the effects of a giant black hole that has been flipped around twice, causing its spin axis to point in a different direction.
NASA's Swift satellite views Comet Lulin as it made it closest approach to Earth in February 2009. Lulin, like all comets, is a clump of frozen gases mixed with dust. These "dirty snowballs" cast off gas and dust whenever they venture near the sun. Comet Lulin, which is formally known as C/2007 N3, was discovered in 2008 by astronomers at Taiwan's Lulin Observatory. Lulin passed closest to Earth -- 38 million miles, or about 160 times farther than the moon -- late on the evening of Feb. 23, 2009, for North America.
Technicians are scheduled to conduct integrated hydraulic testing today and during the weekend work on Discovery's thermal protection system, or heat shield tiles.
The six STS-133 astronauts will resume training on Monday at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston after returning from their week of summer vacation.
This observation from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the floor of a large impact crater in the southern highlands, north of the giant Hellas impact basin. Most of the crater floor is dark, with abundant small ripples of wind-blown material. However, a pit in the floor of the crater has exposed light-toned, fractured rock.
The light-toned material appears fractured at several different scales. These fractures, called joints, result from stresses on the rock after its formation. Joints are similar to faults, but have undergone virtually no displacement.
With careful analysis, joints can provide insight into the forces that have affected a rock, and thus yielding clues into its geologic history. The fractures appear dark, which may be due to dark, wind-blown sand, precipitation of different minerals along the fracture, or both.
Anyway, http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1724.html
President Barack Obama greets the STS-132 Atlantis crew and International Space Station astronaut T.J. Creamer in the Oval Office, July 26, 2010. From left, STS-132 Commander Ken Ham; Expedition 22/23 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer; STS-132 Mission Specialists Piers Sellers, Garret Reisman, and Steve Bowen; President Obama; STS-132 Mission Specialist Michael Good; and STS-132 Pilot Tony Antonelli.
In other space news, technicians are installing the main engine heat shields today as they continue to ready space shuttle Discovery for its targeted Nov. 1 launch on the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station. Discovery is in its processing hangar at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the preparations.
The astronauts who will fly the mission return today from summer vacation and will conduct emergency systems and robotics training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
And finally, I love this pic: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1722.html
The Orion Nebula is a place where stars are born and this colony of hot, young stars is stirring up the cosmic scene in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The young stars dip and peak in brightness; shifting cold and hot spots on the stars' surfaces cause brightness levels to change.
In addition, surrounding disks of lumpy planet-forming material can obstruct starlight. Spitzer is keeping tabs on the young stars, providing data on their changing ways. The hottest stars in the region are the Trapezium cluster. This image was taken after Spitzer's liquid coolant ran dry in May 2009, marking the beginning of its "warm" mission.
And it's only 165,000 light years away.
Big ass stars like this one are essential for creating heavy elements when they die and explode.
You read it! You can't unread it!
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1723.html
On Jan. 2, 2004 NASA's Stardust spacecraft made a close flyby of comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt-2"). Among the equipment the spacecraft carried on board was a navigation camera.that Comet Wild 2 is about 3.1 miles in diameter. This artist's concept depicts a view of Wild 2 that shows the faint jets emanating from the comet.
Also, in other news, technicians in NASA Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility-3 will begin preparations for leak checks on space shuttle Discovery's crew module on July 29. Crews are testing the Ku-band antenna today.
STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Tim Kopra and Alvin Drew will practice in the shuttle training aircraft today at Kennedy. Mission Specialists Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott will conduct payload training at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Recently, technicians at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., completed a series of cryogenic tests on six James Webb Space Telescope beryllium mirror segments at the center's X-ray & Cryogenic Facility. During testing, the mirrors were subjected to extreme temperatures dipping to -415 degrees Fahrenheit, permitting engineers to measure in extreme detail how the shape of the mirror changes as it cools.
The Webb telescope has 18 mirrors, each of which will be tested twice in the Center's X-ray & Cryogenic Facility to ensure that the mirror will maintain its shape in a space environment -- once with bare polished beryllium and then again after a thin coating of gold is applied. The cryogenic test gauges how each mirror changes temperature and shape over a range of operational temperatures in space. This helps predict how well the telescope will image infrared sources.
The mirrors are designed to stay cold to allow scientists to observe the infrared light they reflect using a telescope and instruments optimized to detect this light. Warm objects give off infrared light, or heat. If the Webb telescope mirror is too warm, the faint infrared light from distant galaxies may be lost in the infrared glow of the mirror itself. Thus, the Webb telescope's mirrors need to operate in a deep cold or cryogenic state, at around -379 degree Fahrenheit.
I'm very interested in Sagittarius A, the black hole in our Galaxy's center.
I could say lots of things about that.
Running time: 4:18
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Testing advanced designs for high-speed aircraft in 1948, an engineer makes final calibrations to a model mounted in the 6x6 Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, California.
NACA, NASA’s predecessor organization the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, was established in March 1913 by Congress to "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solutions."
The Ames Aeronautical Laboratory is now NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Two extremely bright stars illuminate a greenish mist in this image from the Spitzer Space Telescope's "GLIMPSE360" survey. This mist is comprised of hydrogen and carbon compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which also are found here on Earth in sooty vehicle exhaust and on charred grills.
In space, PAHs form in the dark clouds that give rise to stars. These molecules provide astronomers a way to visualize the peripheries of gas clouds and study their structures in great detail. They are not actually green; but are color coded in these images to allow scientists see their glow in infrared.
This image is a combination of data from Spitzer and the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS). The Spitzer data was taken after Spitzer's liquid coolant ran dry in May 2009, marking the beginning of its "warm" mission.
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Aug. 20, 2010
RELEASE : 10-193
NASA Asks Public for Final Shuttle Missions' Wakeup Songs
HOUSTON -- If you like music, the space program and are a little nostalgic, NASA has the perfect opportunity for you. For the first time, the public can help choose songs to wake up the astronauts during the last two scheduled space shuttle missions.
Traditionally, the songs played to wake up the astronauts are selected by friends and family of the crews. For the last two scheduled missions, NASA is inviting the public to visit the "Wakeup Song Contest" website to select songs from a list of the top 40 previous wakeup calls or to submit original tunes for consideration. To vote or submit a song, visit:
The two songs with the most votes from the top 40 list will be played as crew wakeup calls on the final scheduled flight of space shuttle Discovery. Discovery's STS-133 mission is targeted to launch on Nov. 1.
"We're looking forward to hearing which songs the public wants played for us," STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey said. "It's going to be a difficult choice, because there have been so many great songs played over the years."
Original songs must have a space theme and be submitted to NASA by 4 p.m. CST on Jan. 10, 2011. The songs will be reviewed by agency officials and the top finalists put to a public vote. The top two songs will be used to wake space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 crew.
Endeavour's mission is the last scheduled space shuttle flight. It is targeted to launch on Feb. 26, 2011.
"Space shuttle crews really enjoy the morning wake-up music," STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly said. "While we don't have the best quality speaker in the space shuttle, it will be interesting to hear what the public comes up with. We are looking forward to it."
The song contest campaign follows NASA's ongoing "Face in Space" project. It invites the public to send electronic images of their faces into orbit aboard one of the final remaining space shuttle missions. To submit your image, visit:
For more information about the Space Shuttle Program and the STS-133 and STS-134 missions to the International Space Station, visit:
For more information about the space station, visit:
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text-only version of this release
A long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image shows a majestic face-on spiral galaxy located deep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which lies 320 million light- years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices.
The galaxy, known as NGC 4911, contains rich lanes of dust and gas near its center. These are silhouetted against glowing newborn star clusters and iridescent pink clouds of hydrogen, the existence of which indicates ongoing star formation. Hubble has also captured the outer spiral arms of NGC 4911, along with thousands of other galaxies of varying sizes.
The high resolution of Hubble's cameras, paired with considerably long exposures, made it possible to observe these faint details. This natural-color Hubble image, which combines data obtained in 2006, 2007, and 2009 from the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys, required 28 hours of exposure time.
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