New Hubble Discovery, SOFIA's Second Series, and More on This Week @ NASA

Uploaded by NASAtelevision on 23.07.2010

This Week at NASA…
New observations by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), confirm
the existence of a giant scorched planet traveling extremely close to its star. Named HD 209458b,
it’s being called by astronomers a "cometary planet" because it has the components of a
planet - but with a trailing tail like a comet, possibly the result of strong stellar winds
sweeping off its super heated atmosphere. Eric Smith SOT: “Mass is being stripped
of at the rate of about 100,000 cars per second. So, a typical big car plant on the Earth might
make 100, 200, 300-thousand cars a year. That’s how many they’re making. This planet’s
losing that much mass per second.” HD 209458B is 153 light years from Earth,
weighs slightly less than Jupiter, and speeds around its star in about 3 and1/12 days, which
means one of our weeks is equal to two of its years.
Eric Smith SOT: “Up to just recently in human history we’ve only known about the
planets in our own solar system, and can study those and so we developed theories about how
stars and planets formed based upon that. Now, there is just this incredible diversity
of planet types, different stellar types, different orbits, and it’s causing us to
have to rethink entirely how we believe stars and planets formed.”
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, is currently conducting
a second series of flight tests to prepare for the airborne observatory’s early science
(nat up)
This phase requires SOFIA to fly above 41,000 feet with the telescope assembly and aperture
operating at its full range of vertical movement.
(nat up)
These tests will enable SOFIA to meet all airworthiness requirements during the flying
observatory's 20-year operational life expectancy.
(nat up) An Aerojet AJ26 rocket engine was delivered
to the Stennis Space Center and installed in its E-1 Test Stand. That’s where a series
of tests will prove its readiness for use in the Taurus II space launch vehicle currently
under development by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va. Two AJ26 rocket engines similar
to this test engine will provide first stage propulsion for the Taurus II and be flown
in support of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, cargo demonstration to
the International Space Station.
(nat applause) Members of the STS-132 crew visited the Marshall
Space Flight Center. Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett
Reisman and Piers Sellers showed video highlights from their May 14th mission to the International
Space Station and participated in a question-and-answer session with Marshall employees.
We hear you during ascent talking back to people in the control room. How hard or difficult
is that? Ken Ham: In the video, you heard some hooting
and hollering; that’s on the internal communications system, (laughter) So, we’re having hooting
and hollering, and when it’s time to talk, it’s important to get everybody to shut
up.” (laughter) STS-132 was a 12-day mission that delivered
a Russian Mini Research Module and other equipment to the orbiting outpost.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington celebrated “Mars Day”
with a smorgasbord of activities for everyone’s tastes.
Among them, testing one’s skills at maneuvering a robotic rover or using a robotic arm; viewing
a real meteorite from Mars; and looking at the Red Planet in 3D. Visitors also discussed
the latest NASA missions and discoveries with research scientists.
Jim Green SOT: “ More people come to this and look at what we do in space and aeronautics
than any other museum in the world. It’s a fabulous opportunity for people to come
and learn about our space program and what we’re doing both in human exploration, but
also in our robotics missions and really participate in the dream and the realities of exploring
space as we have for the last 40 years.” "Mars Day" is held annually at Air and Space
to mark the July 1976 landing of Viking 1, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. A
test version of Viking 1 is displayed in the museum’s Milestones of Flight gallery.
The Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland opened its doors to Girl Scouts from across
the country for NASA's "Girls in Space" camp. Mollie O’Day SOT: “I don’t know what
the clean room is, but I’m excited about seeing it.”
The scouts spent four days learning about NASA missions and how astronomers investigate
the mysteries of the universe. Bailey Gordon SOT: “It’s just really amazing
that we can have this opportunity to come here and learn everything about space.”
Once home, these Girls Scouts will share their new knowledge by, among other activities,
helping form Girl Scout Astronomy clubs in their hometowns.
Announcer: “Let me introduce Leland and Jose and their magical, mystery tour of outer
space!” Youngsters joined their parents at NASA Headquarters
for Take Your Children to Work Day. Kid question: “How do you keep food from
floating away in space?” Boys and girls ages 7 to 15, and their equally
eager parents, participated in fun, educational, and interactive events to learn more about
space, astronauts, and working at the agency. Kristen Erickson SOT: “I’m in planetary
science and we have a lot of the content here; our asteroid models are here, and our moon
rocks, and our Mars meteorites.” It’s hoped the unique experience of accompanying
their moms and dads to work will leave children with positive, lasting impressions on their
lives and perhaps influence the careers they’ll pursue.
Jack Glowacki: “I want to be an astronaut.” And that’s This Week at NASA!
For more on these and other stories log on to: