Spitzer Finds Unusual Structures on This Week @ NASA

Uploaded by NASAtelevision on 02.03.2012

bjbj< This Week at NASA Astronomers using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have,
for the first time, discovered buckyballs in a solid form in space: around a pair of
stars 65-hundred light-years from Earth. Until now, the microscopic carbon spheres had been
found only in gas form. Named for their resemblance to the geodesic domes drawn by late architect
Buckminster Fuller, buckyballs are made up of 60 carbon molecules arranged into a hollow
sphere, like a soccer ball. Their unusual structure makes them ideal candidates for
electrical and chemical applications on Earth, including superconducting materials, medicines,
water purification and armor. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joined his counterparts from
Europe, Japan, Russia, and host Canada for the annual International Space Station Heads
of Agencies meeting held this year in Quebec City. Among topics discussed were the scientific,
technological, and social benefits of their collaboration, the promise of continued scientific
research aboard the ISS, and the further advancement of human exploration of space. NASA s top
leaders continued with their field center visits after rollout of the president s proposed
2013 budget. Bolden met with employees at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the
Ames Research Center in northern California, and the Dryden Flight Research Center in southern
California, at each stop touting how NASA s budget request supports an ambitious program
to reach farther into the solar system than ever before. At the Michoud Assembly Facility
in New Orleans, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver spoke about that site s important work
on NASA projects, such as the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and the new Space Launch System.
This is a very successful multi-use facility where we are working to get the taxpayer s
cost down and be able to fully utilize the unique workforce and infrastructure that is
available here. The 50th anniversary celebration of John Glenn s historic Friendship 7 flight
continued in Cleveland. The Glenn Research Center co-hosted several events at Cleveland
State University to commemorate the first orbital spaceflight by an American half a
century ago. Every bit of progress ever made by human beings has been because somebody
was curious about what was up there. Not just me, but in every field, not just up there
but in medicine, in fabric, in steel and in just a hundred different areas. Somebody has
to be curious about how you can do things differently or new and better. NASA fits that
role exactly. Once known as the Lewis Research Center, its name was changed in 1999 to honor
the Mercury 7 astronaut who later spent four terms in the U.S. Senate representing his
home state of Ohio. Advanced development of the Space Launch System was the focus of an
Industry and Academia Day hosted by the Marshall Space Flight Center. Representatives from
more than forty companies and universities learned about NASA s need for innovative proposals
in concept development, propulsion, structures, materials, manufacturing and avionics, and
software. The Marshall Space Flight Center is leading the agency s design and development
of the SLS. An astronaut and a geologist recently spent three days camping out on an asteroid
or at least camping out as though they were on an asteroid. In reality, they were inside
the newest generation of NASA s Space Exploration Vehicle prototypes parked at the Space Vehicle
Mockup Facility at NASA s Johnson Space Center. The view out the window was out of this world.
We really can t be in deep space. We ve never been there before. In order to set up an environment
which we can get information about the next missions which we re going to go for, we need
to set that up in a digital environment. In an asteroid s microgravity, wheels aren t
needed. Instead, the SEV could be used on a propulsive platform that would allow astronauts
to fly around an asteroid, and by flying it virtually or on an air bearing floor, NASA
gathers information on how it might perform in space. re measuring handling qualities
of the vehicle; we re looking at prop usage; we re looking at the viewing out the windows,
the kinds of rendezvous tools we need. Of course, there s more to exploring than just
driving around, so various methods of simulating spacewalks on an asteroid were also added
to the agenda. When you go to an asteroid or any type of near earth object, the main
driver is going to be science, of course, so most geologist will take a rock chip sample
to be able to get a piece of a full story as to what the local geology is telling them.
A similar round of tests, though on a larger scale, will be conducted at Johnson Space
Center in the summer as part of the annual RATS, or Research and Technology Studies,
tests. I would just like to thank you for inspiring these kids to be the next generation
of explorers. NASA Education chief and former astronaut Leland Melvin presented Washington,
DC s Bruce Monroe Elementary School at Parkview with a tile from a space shuttle s Thermal
Protection System. The TPS tiles helped protect the shuttle upon reentry to Earth s atmosphere.
Melvin talked about his experiences in space and the opportunities available to students
who pursue the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. The space
shuttle tile program is a NASA education mission to inspire student audiences. Preparations
are underway for the transport of space shuttle Enterprise to New York City from Virginia.
Working at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum s Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington,
NASA and United Space Alliance technicians installed a tail cone on the retired spacecraft.
The tail cone will reduce aerodynamic drag and turbulence when Enterprise is ferried
to New York s Kennedy Airport this spring by NASA 905, the agency s remaining Shuttle
Carrier Aircraft. Enterprise will eventually reside at the city s Intrepid Sea, Air and
Space Museum. NASA 911, the other modified Boeing 747 capable of piggybacking a space
shuttle, has flown its final flight. The converted jumbo jet's last mission was a short, 20-minute
hop from the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, to the Dryden Aircraft
Operations Facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. Built in 1973, the
big jetliner was flown in commercial airline service by Japan Air Lines before NASA obtained
it in 1989. After modifications, NASA 911 flew as a shuttle carrier aircraft for the
next 21 years, carrying space shuttles 66 times on ferry flights. There was a lot of
work that went into the initial design of how to modify the airplane, how to attach
it. Just goes to show what American ingenuity can do. Job shadow day is really about the
student. It s allowing them an open experience in STEM Careers first hand. We have mentors
who ve volunteered from resources, GIS, Test Flight Directors, Engineers. National Groundhog
Day was also Job Shadow Day at the Wallops Flight Facility. Eight area high school students
got a close up look at occupations that these students are interest in. The students are
able to go in and see exactly what they do on a day to day basis as well as get an inside
look at NASA and Wallops Flight Facility. m one of the people whose, I like to take
the design and then put it into real life and that s pretty much what people do here.
The Wallops Education Office plans to make Job Shadow Day an annual event coinciding
with Groundhog Day. Actress and spaceflight activist Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt.
Uhura in the original Star Trek TV series, inspired an audience of her fans during a
recent visit to the Goddard Space Flight Center. Nichols delivered the keynote address at a
center celebration of African American History Month. Following her role in Star Trek, Nichols
helped NASA recruit women and minority astronaut candidates. Today, she remains an advocate
for the agency and human exploration. My posterity, all our posterity will benefit from the growth
of NASA. So now more than ever we must support NASA and understand just how important it
is to our future. In honor of Women s History Month 20-12 a celebration of Empowerment and
Education, NASA recognizes the contributions of women to the cause of space exploration.
My name is Jessica Harris and I work at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore,
MD. I work with Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. I do a lot
of outreach to high schools and middle schools. I bring them a lot of hands-on activities;
things that they can do that will grasp their attention outside of just the regular, every
day, classroom setting. When I went off to school, I decided that, hey I wanted to do
physics. Going through undergrad and going through grad school, I realized that I have
more of a passion to share this with other people. I want someone to tell me what that
is. I really want to impact students through my lifestyle, and being able to be an example
towards them and one of the things I try to encourage them to do is follow their passion,
most importantly, and one of my passions is miming. Miming is a non-verbal dance. It allows
me to be more comfortable and just expressive of myself, a more complete whole person. I'm
so glad that I can work at Space Telescope Science Institute. I really enjoy the job
that I have here and the impact that we have on students. Forty years ago, on March 2,
1972, Pioneer 10 launched on what would prove to be a mission lasting more than three decades!
Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the Asteroid belt, and the first spacecraft
to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter and its moons. This historic
event marked humans' first approach to the gas giant and opened the way for exploration
of the outer solar system by future spacecraft like Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo and Cassini.
After more than 8 billion miles traveled in more than 30 years, Pioneer 10 sent its last
signal to Earth on January 23, 2003. And that s This Week @ NASA! For more on these and
other stories, or to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, log on to
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