"NASA TV's This Week @NASA, December 3 2010"


 

 

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, December 3 2010

Felisa Wolfe-Simon:

"I'd like to introduce to you today to the bacterium GFAJ-1."

A team of NASA-funded researchers has discovered a bacterium that can live and grow without phosphate salt, an essential building block for life as we know it. The bacterium, from the toxic and briny Mono Lake in California, was also shown to sustain itself and grow on the toxic chemical, arsenic. This is the first microorganism known to thrive this way and will change how scientists search for life in space.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon:

"Ive led a team that has discovered a microbe that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in its major biomolecules, but let me step back for a minute. All life that we know of requires carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur and it uses those six elements in some of the critical pieces I think were all familiar with including: DNA and RNA or the information technology of the cell, the proteins which are the molecular machines and the lipids which separates you from everything else. And so, weve discovered an organism which can substitute one element for another in these major biomolecules."

Pamela Conrad:

"With respect to space exploration, this is a very interesting result again because the implication is that we still dont know everything there is to know about what would make a habitable environment on another planet, or a satellite of another planet; we have to increasingly broaden our perspective. So, perhaps arsenic is not an essential component for habitability or for life, but it may be one that can be tolerated."

Until now, astronomers and scientists have believed that, without phosphates, life couldnt exist anywhere else in the universe. Discovery of this arsenic-eating bacterium tells scientists they need to re-examine how and where they look.

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SHUTTLE UPDATE JSC
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Bill Gerstenmaier:

"There is really no way we can get there before the December launch window, so what wed like to do now is take that off the table and let John and his team do a little bit of planning over the next several days, first part of next week, and analyze the overall plan and the workflow between now, as we go forward, so were setting the next launch date tentative around Feb. 3. "

After reviewing the progress of repairs that have delayed Discovery's launch, program managers are now targeting the shuttles liftoff for no earlier than Feb.3. Shuttle managers determined that more tests and analyses are needed before proceeding with the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.

John Shannon:

"Weve hit a point where there is no obvious answer as to what occurred. What that means is that we have to take the next step. And, we have to look in greater detail, to understand what types of stresses you can put on these stringers during the assembly process, see how they could line up, and add stress to that stringer. And, we have to do that through a demonstration; analysis is not going to get us there."

At issue: cracks on two 21-foot-long, U-shaped aluminum brackets, called stringers, on the shuttle's external tank. The cracks have been fixed and the stringers re-covered with foam.

If Discovery proves ready to go on Feb. 3, liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center would come at 1:34 a.
 


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"NASA TV's This Week @NASA, December 3 2010"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 
 

 

 
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