‘Spinoff Day’, Record-Setting Rover, and Going to an Extreme on This Week @ NASA.

‘Spinoff Day’, Record-Setting Rover, and Going to an Extreme on This Week @ NASA.


This Week at NASA… NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun helped
kick off Spinoff Day on Capitol Hill. The event at the Rayburn House Office Building
showcased companies whose products have been ‘spun off,’ or derived, from newfound
NASA technologies and how they improve life here on Earth. “this new approach, this technology-enabled
approach, will allow NASA to produce more things like you see in the room today, not
just more science and exploration missions, but more Earth based spinoffs” NASA research and development has spawned
more than 1600 successfully-commercialized applications in health and medicine, public
safety, consumer goods, transportation, environmental resources, computer technology, and industrial
productivity. To learn more about how NASA ‘spinoffs’
continue to benefit our society, visit: www.nasa.gov/spinoffs. A six-member team of aquanauts is testing
exploration concepts off Florida’s east coast in the difficult and often dangerous work
environment of the ocean. The team participating in the 14th expedition of the NASA Extreme
Environment Mission Operations — NEEMO is Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, NASA astronaut
and flight surgeon Tom Marshburn, Lunar Electric Rover Deputy Project Manager Andrew Abercromby,
research scientist Steve Chappell and habitat technicians James Talacek and Nate Bender. During the 14-day undersea mission, the NEEMO
crew lives and works aboard the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, where they’ll perform life science
experiments focused on human behavior, performance and physiology. They’ll also venture out
into the depths to simulate spacewalks, and operate and maneuver mockups of vehicles future
space explorers might use in setting up a habitat on another planet. NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity,
is the new robotic record-holder for longevity on the Red Planet. Opportunity surpassed the
duration mark set by NASA’s Viking Lander I of six years and 116 days operating on the
surface of Mars. “Spirit has likely passed that record, but
right now Spirit is deeply asleep, so we haven’t heard from the rover in about two weeks, but
once she wakes up she’ll reclaim the title as the longest lived asset on the surface
of Mars.” Opportunity’s twin rover, Spirit, began working
on Mars three weeks before Opportunity. Spirit has been in ‘hibernation’ mode since March
22. Both Spirit and Opportunity were designed for 90-day missions.
Viking Lander 1 was the first successful mission to the surface of Mars, touching down on July
20, 1976. It operated until Nov. 13, 1982. Recent studies sponsored by NASA suggest that
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may play a role in mitigating bone breakdown.
Bone density loss, a problem astronauts experience during long-duration spaceflight, has long
been a subject of NASA research. The fish oil connection could have broader implications
not only for space travelers, but also for those susceptible to osteoporosis here on
Earth. The studies’ results are published in the current issue of the Journal of Bone
and Mineral Research. Astronaut Jeff Williams, Expedition 22 Commander
of the International Space Station gave a special presentation at the National Air and
Space Museum in Washington about his recent six month mission aboard the complex. Williams
shared high-definition video from his mission with a full house, then took questions from
the audience. “How did it feel coming back on earth?” “When you return to Earth, the brain is
not used to paying attention to that because it hasn’t been there so it takes a little
while to regain your sense of balance.” Williams also explained the ISS’s role in
beyond-Earth exploration. Williams has lived a total of twelve months on the space station
during three different expeditions. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory held its annual
two-day open house for adults and kids alike. “This is a chance for all these people to
come out and be proud and boastful about the things that they’re doing, and get a little
energy back from this amazing crowd of people.” The fun-filled and educational experience
celebrated the center’s accomplishments, and featured exhibits and demonstrations of JPL’s
ongoing exploration research. Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers answered
questions about propelling spacecraft to other planets, using space technologies to explore
Earth, and searching for planets beyond our solar system. On loan from the Smithsonian’s National
Air and Space Museum in Washington was Hubble Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera
2. Nicknamed “The Camera That Saved Hubble,” WFPC-2 was developed and built at JPL, and
will remain on display at the center for the next five months. Employees of the Glenn Research Center were
visited by members of two space shuttle crews. Terry Virts, who served as Pilot on STS-130,
and STS-131 Mission Specialist Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger shared details of their spaceflight experiences. “Things float around, and it’s a real
pain; weightlessness is a real pain. If you’re ever designing hardware you need to think
about that.” On STS-131, Metcalf-Lindenburger and the other
members of space shuttle Discovery’s crew delivered to the International Space Station
a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks for use in the ISS’s laboratories.
Space shuttle Endeavour, with Virts on its stick, carried up the space station’s last
major modules, Tranquility and its seven-windowed cupola, on STS-130. Tranquility is now the
life support hub of the space station, while the Cupola provides a spectacular panoramic
view of our planet. More than 200 cyclists took part in the Ames
Research Center’s second annual Tour de Ames Bicycle Race and Fun Ride. The event kicked off with a five-minute safety
briefing and safety inspection, followed by a 5.5-mile trek that took riders over the
perimeter roads of the Ames Moffett Airfield. Tour de Ames was sponsored by the Ames Bicycle
Club and other center organizations. The second annual Tour de Ames – this is
something we want to do every year because we believe it’s something that members of
Ames Moffet can get behind. It’s something they really enjoy.”
Yeah, we just finished 1-2-3, and I’m very happy!” And that’s This Week at NASA! For more on these and other stories log on
to: www.nasa.gov

Eugene Islam

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