"You’re looking straight into the camera, absolutely."
Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Mikhail Kornienko spent nearly seven hours
spacewalking to replace a video camera and improve cable connections to the
International Space Station.
The two Expedition 24 Flight Engineers outfitted the new Rassvet mini module to
host automatic linkups with Russian vehicles arriving at the station. They also
routed and mated Command and Data Handling cables on the Zvezda and Zarya
A video camera was removed and replaced on the aft end of Zvezda then
successfully tested. It’ll be used to provide television views of the final
approach and docking of future European Automated Transfer Vehicles carrying
cargo to the complex.
Aerospace engineers at the Ames Research Center are using wind tunnels to test a
launch abort system, or LAS, for the Orion spacecraft. A six per cent scale
model of the spacecraft, complex parts and all, is being used to mimic various
launch conditions so researchers can better understand the aerodynamics of
Orion’s liftoff and climb to orbit.
"We're looking at how the aerodynamics are affected as we do an abort and
separation maneuver, and then how to control the vehicle as we go through the
abort and recovery as it comes down and the shoots come out."
Comprised of a tower and cover, Orion’s LAS has a powerfully built launch abort
motor which would quickly move the craft and its human cargo away from the
launch vehicle in an emergency. The ability to protect astronauts from a launch
pad failure is a critical component of human spaceflight, and tests like these
help maintain the safety of astronauts throughout their mission.
Like proud parents watching their baby take its first steps, mission team
members gathered in the gallery above the clean room at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory to witness the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time.
Curiosity was guided by engineers and technicians in "bunny suits" as it made
its first roll on the clean room floor, moving forward and backward about a
Dr. Ashwin Vasada:
"It's gone from designs on napkins, to Power Point, to CAD drawings, to
blueprints and now it’s a rover."
Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, will be the largest rover
ever sent to the Red Planet. It’ll carry ten instruments to detect places where
life may have existed and whether they have the capacity to preserve the
evidence. MSL is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and set down on Mars the
MARS MAP – JPL
A camera aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most
accurate global Martian map ever. And not only can researchers access the map –
so, can the public, explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet as
The map is made from nearly 21,000 images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging
System, THEMIS, a multi-band infrared camera on Odyssey. The pictures have been
smoothed, matched, blended and cartographically controlled to make a giant
mosaic. Users can pan and zoom into the images, with some of the smallest
surface details just 330 feet wide.