This Week @ NASA

Latest Edition of “This Week @ NASA” (Published April 11, 2014)
Upcoming Activities and NASA TV Coverage
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
  • 11:15 a.m. PDT — Media invited to join Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot for a brief update and tour of an aeronautical research project currently underway at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Lightfoot and media will view the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE), an experimental flight research project to determine whether advanced flexible trailing-edge wing flaps can improve aircraft aerodynamic efficiency and reduce airport-area noise generated during takeoffs and landings. Media also will tour the modified Gulfstream III aircraft that is being used for the project and be briefed on the progress of this research effort. During his visit, Lightfoot also will participate in the dedication of the center’s aeronautical test range to Hugh L. Dryden, and talk with center managers and employees. [Media Advisory]
  • 1 to 5 a.m. – Total Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse’s peak, when the moon will enter the Earth’s full shadow or umbra, will occur at 3:45 a.m. The United States will be in a prime orbital position and time of day to view the eclipse. Depending on local weather conditions, the public will get a spectacular view looking into the sky as the moon’s appearance will change from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and perhaps gray. The United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019. NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will answer questions about the Lunar Eclipse in a live web chat on
  • 1 p.m. — Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Gala (held Friday April 11, 2014 in Houston, Texas)
  • 2 to 3 p.m. — 2012 PECASE (Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers) winners will be honored at NASA Headquarters, Glennan Assembly Room.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
  • 2:45 p.m. MDT — Administrator Bolden will discuss America’s space program and the challenges the agency faces for the missions of tomorrow at the University of Colorado, Boulder. [Event Information]
  • 3:29 p.m. – Scheduled launch of SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station. The mission, designated SpaceX-3, I the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory. The spacecraft will be filled with almost 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies. The Dragon will remain attached to the space station’s Harmony module until mid-May and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with more than 3,000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.
  • 12:45 — ISS Expedition 39 In-Flight Educational Event with the University of Connecticut, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Houston, Clear Lake
News Highlights
The bright light seen in photos taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover received a lot of coverage last week. The articles mentioned that the photo excited UFO watchers, but NASA quickly responded that the bright spots were likely due to sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector. Coverage included pieces posted by NBC NewsABC NewsCNNForbes, and CBS News.
There were more than 100 articles about the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator demonstration for the media at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on April 9. Several pieces, including ones from NBC News and the Los Angeles Times, referred to LDSD as a “flying saucer” that was part of a project to get bigger payloads to Mars.
The total lunar eclipse has been covered in numerous national and regional outlets. ABC News and USA Today, for example, covered the science behind the eclipse and tips for how and when to view it.
Press Releases and Web Features
NASA Cassini Images May Reveal Birth of New Saturn Moon (April 14, 2014)
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken with Cassini’s narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013 show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn’s A ring — the outermost of the planet’s large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring’s edge. Scientists believe the arc and protuberances are caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object. Details of the observations were published online today (April 14, 2014) by the journal Icarus. Please visit:
Construction to Begin on NASA Spacecraft Set to Visit Asteroid in 2018 (April 10, 2014)
NASA’s team that will conduct the first U.S. mission to collect samples from an asteroid has been given the go-ahead to begin building the spacecraft, flight instruments and ground system, and launch support facilities.  Please visit:
NASA’s Hubble Extends Stellar Tape Measure 10 Times Farther Into Space (April 10, 2014)
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers now can precisely measure the distance of stars up to 10,000 light-years away — 10 times farther than previously possible. Please visit:
NASA Signs Agreement with German, Canadian Partners to Test Alternative Fuels (April 10, 2014)
NASA has signed separate agreements with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flights are set to begin May 7 and will be flown from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. For more information, please visit:
Avionics System for SLS Boosters Gets ‘Boost’ of Its Own on Path to Space (April 10, 2014)
The avionics that will guide NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) boosters on the rocket’s trip to deep space missions will get a big “boost” toward being ready for flight through an extensive test series now being conducted at ATK’s Avionics Lab in Clearfield, Utah. For more information, please visit:
The Path to Mars – Administrator Bolden Blog Post (April 11, 2014)
NASA sent humans to the moon by setting a goal that seemed beyond our reach.  In that same spirit, we have made a human mission to Mars the centerpiece of our next big leap into the unknown.  We are counting on the support of Congress and the American people to help us realize that goal.
NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Powers through First Integrated System Testing (April 11, 2014)
NASA’s Orion spacecraft has proven its mettle in a test designed to determine the spacecraft’s readiness for its first flight test — Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) — later this year. EFT-1 will send the spacecraft more than 3,600 miles from Earth and return it safely. Please visit:
Science Mission Directorate click here.