New observations by the Hubble Space TelescopeТs Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
(COS), confirm the existence of a giant scorched planet traveling extremely
close to its star. Named HD 209458b, itТs 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
"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. ThatТs how many theyТre making. This planetТs losing that much mass per
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.
"Up to just recently in human history weТve 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 itТs
causing us to have to rethink entirely how we believe stars and planets formed."
SOFIAТS SECOND FLIGHT SERIES Ц DFRC
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, is currently
conducting a second series of flight tests to prepare for the airborne
observatoryТs early science missions.
This phase requires SOFIA to fly above 41,000 feet with the telescope assembly
and aperture operating at its full range of vertical movement.
These tests will enable SOFIA to meet all airworthiness requirements during the
flying observatory's 20-year operational life expectancy.
An Aerojet AJ26 rocket engine was delivered to the Stennis Space Center and
installed in its E-1 Test Stand. ThatТs 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.
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
We hear you during ascent talking back to people in the control room. How hard
or difficult is that?
"In the video, you heard some hooting and hollering; thatТs on the internal
communications system, (laughter) So, weТre having hooting and hollering, and
when itТs time to talk, itТs important to get everybody to shut up." (laughter)