Archive for August, 2013

“This Week@NASA” (Published August 26, 2013)

“This Week@NASA” (Published August 26, 2013)

This Week at NASA video file –

1.          Launch of NASA’s LADEE Mission to the Moon (Sept 5-6, 2013)

NASA will host a two-day event for 50 of its social media followers on Thursday, Sept. 5, and Friday, Sept. 6, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va., for the launch of NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).
NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
•       View the launch of the Minotaur V rocket carrying LADEE
•       Hear first-hand accounts of the mission development and research goals from the LADEE science and engineering teams from NASA Ames and other organizations
•       Get a behind-the-scenes tour Wallops Flight Facility (Note: All sites on  WFF are subject to closure due to mission requirements), including potential opportunities to:
•       Tour Chincoteague Island
•       View the Minotaur V launch pad
•       Meet and interact with representatives from NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation
•       Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
•       Meet members of NASA’s social media teams
•       Touch an actual moon rock
Registration opens on this page at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 24, and closes at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 31. Need more information? Help is available by sending an email to:<>.
Link to the public viewing areas of where you can see the LADEE launch from the East Coast:

Artist Depiction of LADEE: <>

2.       NASA’s Spitzer Telescope Celebrates 10 Years in Space

Ten years after a Delta II rocket launched NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, lighting up the night sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla., the fourth of the agency’s four Great Observatories continues to illuminate the dark side of the cosmos with its infrared eyes. The telescope studied comets and asteroids, counted stars, scrutinized planets and galaxies, and discovered soccer-ball shaped carbon spheres in space called buckyballs.  For more information about Spitzer, visit: or at

3.       NASA Tests Limits of 3-D Printing with Powerful Rocket Engine Check  (August 22, 2013)

The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.

This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware.  For more information about the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, visit:

4.    NASA-Funded Scientists Detect Water on Moon’s Surface that Hints at Water Below (published August 25, 2013)


NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface. The findings, published Aug. 25 in Nature Geoscience, represent the first detection of this form of water from lunar orbit. Earlier studies had shown the existence of magmatic water in lunar samples returned during the Apollo program.   For more information, please visit:

5.       NASA Helicopter Test a Smash Hit  (August 28, 2013)

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., dropped an old Marine CH-46E helicopter fuselage filled with 15 dummy occupants from a height of about 30 feet Wednesday to test improved seats and seatbelts and gather data on the odds of surviving a helicopter crash. Video of the test will be available on the NASA TV video file and images will be posted on Langley’s Flickr site:

6.       NASA Data Reveals Mega-Canyon under Greenland Ice Sheet  (August 28, 2013)

Data from a NASA airborne science mission reveals evidence of a large and previously unknown canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice. The canyon has the characteristics of a winding river channel and is at least 460 miles (750 kilometers) long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon. In some places, it is as deep as 2,600 feet (800 meters), on scale with segments of the Grand Canyon. This immense feature is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.  For more information about NASA’s Operation IceBridge, visit:

7.       NASA’s Chandra Observatory Catches Giant Black Hole Rejecting Material  (August 29, 2013)

Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have taken a major step in explaining why material around the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is extraordinarily faint in X-rays. This discovery holds important implications for understanding black holes.

For more information, please visit: or For Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:  For an additional interactive image, podcast, and video on the finding, visit:

8.       LIVE: Watch Japanese Cargo Ship Leave International Space Station (September 4, 2013)

NASA Television will air live the departure of a Japanese cargo ship from the International Space Station at noon Wednesday, Sept. 4.  NASA TV coverage will begin at 11 a.m. EDT with an expanded edition of “Space Station Live,” featuring activities surrounding the HTV-4 departure. For further information, please visit:

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

9.       NASA to Preview Orbital Sciences Flight to Space Station (September 4, 2013)

NASA will host a televised news conference at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 4, to preview the upcoming test flight of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. The news conference will originate from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at the conclusion of a meeting in which senior NASA managers, space station partners and Orbital Sciences officials will evaluate the spacecraft’s readiness for flight. Cygnus is scheduled for launch Tuesday, Sept. 17, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. For more information, please visit:

10.   Science Mission Directorate Weekly Highlights 

SMD Weekly Highlights (8 23 13)

Mars Society International Student Design Competition

Mars Society International Student Design Competition

During the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention, the Mars Society announced the launch of an international engineering competition for student teams to propose design concepts for the architecture of the Inspiration Mars mission.  The contest is open to university engineering student teams from anywhere in the world.

The requirement is to design a two-person Mars flyby mission for 2018 as cheaply, safely and simply as possible. All other design variables are open.

Alumni, professors and other university staff may participate as well, but the teams must be predominantly composed of and led by students. All competition presentations must be completed exclusively by students. Teams will be required to submit their design reports in writing by March 15, 2014. From there, a down-select will occur with the top 10 finalist teams invited to present and defend their designs before a panel of six judges chosen (two each) by the Mars Society, Inspiration Mars and NASA. The presentations will take place during a public event at NASA Ames Research Center in April 2014.

Designs will be evaluated using a scoring system, allocating a maximum of 30 points for cost, 30 points for technical quality of the design, 20 points for operational simplicity and 20 points for schedule with a maximum total of 100 points. The first place team will receive a prize of $10,000, an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 international Mars Society convention and a trophy to be presented by Dennis Tito at that event. Prizes of $5,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 will also be awarded for second through fifth place.

All designs submitted will be published, and Inspiration Mars will be given non-exclusive rights to make use of any ideas contained therein.

For more information, please go to the following link:

NASA’s Fifth Annual Robotic Mining Competition

NASA’s Fifth Annual Robotic Mining Competition

Registration has opened for NASA’s Fifth Annual Robotic Mining Competition.  Registration will close after 50 teams have been accepted.  The competition will be held at KSC on May 19 – 23, 2014.

NASA’s Fifth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin within 10 minutes.  There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space. The technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition conceivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars.  NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions which could be applied to an actual excavation device or payload.  The unique physical properties of basaltic regolith and the reduced 1/3rd gravity make excavation a difficult technical challenge. Advances in Martian mining have the potential to significantly contribute to our nation’s space vision and NASA space exploration operations.

See more info about the competition, along with the rules and rubrics at:

Registration site:

NASA Science Weekly Highlights (Aug 9 2013)

Weekly highlights of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Week of August 9, 2013

SMD Weekly Highlights (8 9 13)

NASA Science Weekly Highlights (Aug 2 2013)

Weekly highlights of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Week of August 2, 2013

SMD Weekly Highlights (8 2 13)

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