This Week @ NASA
Upcoming Activities and NASA TV Coverage
Monday, October 5
· NASA Exhibit at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (Through 10/11). NASA TV Come learn about NASA! At an event featuring hot air balloons, NASA will display an F/A-18 half-scale blow-up model at the entrance to the agency’s exhibit. NASA uses the high-performance F/A-18s for flight research and for flying alongside research aircraft to document the flight, during which a photographer or videographer might also take footage that adds to researchers’ flight information. Though most are aware of the agency’s space mission, fewer are familiar with NASA aeronautics research conducted at four centers across the nation: Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif., Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. LINK
· Virginia Students Speak Live with Space Station Crew. A group of students from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, will get the chance to speak with an astronaut who once studied in their classrooms and now is working and living on the International Space Station. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call is scheduled for on Monday, Oct. 5, and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, a 1991 graduate of Robinson, will be answering questions from 8th and 11th grade students at the school while orbiting 260 miles above Earth on the space station. Lindgren will be joined for the event by fellow Expedition 45 crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Kimiya Yui. Video of the downlink can be seen here:http://youtu.be/bEzxBZL7clc; http://go.usa.gov/3ukAQ
· NASA Deputy Administrator Newman and USDA Deputy Secretary Joining 4-H and FFA Members to Plant Space Station Sister Seeds in USDA People’s Garden. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman will join area FFA and 4-H members to plant sister seeds to lettuce grown on the International Space Station at an event in The People’s Garden at USDA’s Whitten Building located next to the National Mall in Washington, DC. During the event, Harden and Newman will sign a new interagency agreement expanding USDA and NASA’s commitment to promoting careers in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math to young people. LINK
o - ISS Expedition 45 In-Flight Educational Event with the Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia and ISS Commander Scott Kelly with Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA and Kimiya Yui of JAXA (starts at ) (all channels)
Tuesday, October 6
· International Forum for Aviation Research Summit at NASA Ames. The 6th IFAR Summit will take place on invitation of NASA at Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, California, USA, from . LINK
Wednesday, October 7
· CubeSat News Conferences. Thirteen NASA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)-sponsored CubeSats are scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket , from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Prelaunch media briefings and launch commentary coverage will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Four of the CubeSats are NASA-sponsored and nine are NRO-sponsored, one of which was developed with NASA funding. All will be flown on the NRO’s Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment (GRACE), which is an auxiliary payload aboard the NROL-55 mission. The CubeSat developed with NASA funding will evaluate the ability to point a small satellite accurately as it demonstrates data transfer by laser at rates of up to 200 Mb/s — a factor of 100 increase over current high-end CubeSat communications systems. The NASA-sponsored CubeSats will test new small satellite control and communications systems, Earth observations, amateur radio communications and an X-Band radio science transponder. NASA will host two prelaunch briefings at Vandenberg on . The first briefing will highlight the growing importance of CubeSats in exploration and technology development and will begin at ( ). The second briefing will discuss the five NASA-sponsored CubeSats. This briefing will begin at ( ). http://go.usa.gov/3ukMw
· NASA TV
o – NASA News Conference – CubeSat Overview Briefing (all channels)
o -NASA News Conference – CubeSat PI Briefing (NTV-1 (Public), NTV-2 (Education))
o - ISS Expedition 45 In-Flight Interviews with NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt with ISS Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (starts at ) (NTV-3 (Media))
· CubeSat Launch. Thirteen NASA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)-sponsored CubeSats are scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket , from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Small satellites, including CubeSats, are playing an increasingly larger role in exploration, technology demonstration, scientific research and educational investigations at NASA. These miniature satellites provide a low-cost platform for NASA missions, including planetary space exploration; Earth observations; fundamental Earth and space science; and developing precursor science instruments like cutting-edge laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications, and autonomous movement capabilities. They also allow an inexpensive means to engage students in all phases of satellite development, operation and exploitation through real-world, hands-on research and development experience on NASA-funded rideshare launch opportunities. http://go.usa.gov/3ukuA
· NASA TV
o TBD – CubeSat Launch Coverage from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (all channels)
o - ISS Expedition 45 In-Flight Interviews with W Radio/CNN en Espanol and WGN Radio, Chicago with ISS Commander Scott Kelly of NASA (all channels)
· Mars – There were many thousands of stories about the announcement that there is briny liquid wateron Mars. Google made a Mars Google Doodle. The announcement also let to more than 1,200 Spanish-language reports. The story made every major network evening news broadcast. Additionally, there were more than 800 articles about NASA and The Martian. About 40 media reports on how Curiosity is being prepared to survive the Martian winter.
· Solar System & Beyond – There were over 300 articles about the latest images from New Horizons. Fox News, The Chicago Tribune, and Popular Mechanics are some of the outlets that published the photos of Charon. There were additional stories about the latest Dawn imagery and Hubble’s imagery of the Veil Nebula.
· Earth – Wired published an article about SERVIR and how NASA helps save lives from space. TheWashington Post had quotes from NASA scientists in a story about exploring the area that threaten coastlines if it melts.
· Technology – The winner of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge was featured by outlets like CNET andWired. Several media reports on Google and NASA extending work on quantum computing. Thousands of articles about Hurricane Joaquin featured NASA imagery.
· Aeronautics – There were several more stories of NASA’s photography of aircraft shockwaves.
Press Releases & Web Features September 28-October 5
Curiosity’s Drill Hole and Location are Picture Perfect – October 2
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover drilled its eighth hole on Mars, and its fifth since reaching Mount Sharp one year ago. The drilling of the hole 2.6-inches (65 millimeters) deep in a rock the team labeled “Big Sky” is part of a multi-day, multi-step sequence that will result in the analysis of the Martian rock’s ingredients in the rover’s two onboard laboratories – the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-Ray diffractometer (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/curiositys-drill-hole-and-location-are-picture-perfect
International Space Station
Virginia Students to Speak Live with Space Station Crew – October 1
A group of students from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, will get the chance to speak with an astronaut who once studied in their classrooms and now is working and living on the International Space Station.
The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call is scheduled for on Monday, Oct. 5, and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, a 1991 graduate of Robinson, will be answering questions from 8th and 11th grade students at the school while orbiting 260 miles above Earth on the space station. Lindgren will be joined for the event by fellow Expedition 45 crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Kimiya Yui. http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/virginia-students-to-speak-live-with-space-station-crew
Contemplating Brain Function on the Space Station – October 2
Pondering how the brain reacts to spaceflight? You are in luck, as we take an in-depth look this month at the contemplative topic of brain research aboard the International Space Station. Spaceflight has a unique effect on astronauts’ central nervous systems, and scientists are studying these effects now through experiments conducted in microgravity aboard the space station to reduce risks during future space missions to an asteroid, Mars and beyond. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/brain_research
Solar System & Beyond
NASA Selects Investigations for Future Key Planetary Mission – September 30
NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. The submitted proposals would study Venus, near-Earth objects and a variety of asteroids. Each investigation team will receive $3 million to conduct concept design studies and analyses. After a detailed review and evaluation of the concept studies, NASA will make the final selections by September 2016 for continued development leading up to launch. Any selected mission will cost approximately $500 million, not including launch vehicle funding or the cost of post-launch operations. ”The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the formation of our solar system and its dynamic processes,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations of explorers. It’s an incredible time for science, and NASA is leading the way.” http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-investigations-for-future-key-planetary-mission
Titan’s Accent Mark – October 5
A coincidence of viewing angle makes Pandora appear to be hovering over Titan, almost like an accent mark.
Little Pandora is much closer to Cassini than hazy Titan in this view. (Titan is nearly three times farther away.) Even so, Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across) dwarfs Pandora (50 miles or 81 kilometers across). This gives us some sense of the diversity in sizes, and shapes, of Saturn’s many moons. North on Titan is up and rotated 19 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 4, 2015. http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia18338/titans-accent-mark
Pluto’s Big Moon Charon Reveals a Colorful and Violent History – October 2
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has returned the best color and the highest resolution images yet of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon – and these pictures show a surprisingly complex and violent history. At half the diameter of Pluto, Charon is the largest satellite relative to its planet in the solar system. Many New Horizons scientists expected Charon to be a monotonous, crater-battered world; instead, they’re finding a landscape covered with mountains, canyons, landslides, surface-color variations and more. “We thought the probability of seeing such interesting features on this satellite of a world at the far edge of our solar system was low,” said Ross Beyer, an affiliate of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team from the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, “but I couldn’t be more delighted with what we see.”
High-resolution images of the Pluto-facing hemisphere of Charon, taken by New Horizons as the spacecraft sped through the Pluto system on and transmitted to Earth on Sept. 21, reveal details of a belt of fractures and canyons just north of the moon’s equator. This great canyon system stretches more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across the entire face of Charon and likely around onto Charon’s far side. Four times as long as the Grand Canyon, and twice as deep in places, these faults and canyons indicate a titanic geological upheaval in Charon’s past. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/pluto-s-big-moon-charon-reveals-a-colorful-and-violent-history
NASA IMERG Measures Historic Rainfall from a Nor’easter and Joaquin – October 5
NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (IMERG) data were
Record rainfall fell over the Carolinas from September 26 to October 5 from a plume of moisture from Hurricane Joaquin when it was located over the Bahamas and moved to Bermuda. The IMERG showed highest rainfall totals near 1,000 mm (39.3 inches) in a small area of South Carolina and rainfall between 700 and 900 mm (27.5 and 37.4 inches) over a large area of South Carolina. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-imerg-measures-historic-rainfall-from-a-noreaster-and-joaquin
NASA Showcases Aeronautics at Balloon Fiesta – October 2
When the skies fill with hot air balloons at the 44th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico from Oct. 3 to 11, NASA will be there when they fly. While the agency doesn’t have its own hot air balloon, the NASA exhibit will include a number of items of interest to aviation enthusiasts. “This exhibit shows the public the many exciting things NASA’s working on right now that will benefit them in the very near future in aeronautics, technology, earth science and beyond,” said Tony Springer, acting director of the Integration and Management Office at NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-showcases-aeronautics-at-balloon-fiesta
Fused Reality: Making the Imagined Seem Real – September 29
There are two ways for pilots to gain proficiency in an airplane and evaluate its handling qualities. The first is to climb into the cockpit and takeoff; the second is to practice in a ground-based simulator. Each method has advantages and limitations. Now, it is possible to combine the best of both through an exciting new technology known as Fused Reality that is being tested by researchers from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, and the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in nearby Mojave.http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/fused_reality.html
NASA Sets Coverage Schedule for CubeSat Launch Events – October 1
Thirteen NASA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)-sponsored CubeSats are scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket , from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Prelaunch media briefings and launch commentary coverage will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Four of the CubeSats are NASA-sponsored and nine are NRO-sponsored, one of which was developed with NASA funding. All will be flown on the NRO’s Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment (GRACE), which is an auxiliary payload aboard the NROL-55 mission. http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-sets-coverage-schedule-for-cubesat-launch-events
Five Orion Technologies That Will Help Us Get Home From Mars – October 1
Orion is a key piece of NASA’s journey to Mars. The spacecraft, which was first tested in space last year, will enable crew to travel to deep space on the journey to the Red Planet and bring astronauts home safely. It’s a critical technology we’ll use to help NASA test, demonstrate and hone the skills and capabilities we need to operate farther and farther away from Earth. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/five-orion-technologies-that-will-help-us-get-home-from-mars