Polar Ice Study, Soccer Ball Science and Communication Satellite Retired This Week @ NASA

Polar Ice Study, Soccer Ball Science and Communication Satellite Retired This Week @ NASA

This Week at NASA… A NASA-sponsored mission in Alaska is exploring
how changes in the Arctic’s sea ice cover may be contributing to global warming.
ICESCAPE, for Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific
Environment,” is working its way through the Bering Strait headed for the Chukchi
and Beaufort seas. For the next few weeks, biologists and biogeochemists aboard
a high-tech icebreaker called the “Healy” will study ocean and sea ice samples for their
physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. “First we will be measuring how thick the
ice is, we will be doing surveys along to see the variability and ice thickness and
then we will also be looking at how sunlight interacts with that ice cover. What
we will doing is measuring how much sunlight reaches that surface, how much of
that sunlight is reflected from the surface, how much sunlight is absorbed in
the ice and how much is transmitted into the ocean.” Scientists want to determine how changes in
the polar region may inhibit the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is a leading cause of global warming. It was the first satellite of its kind, able
to relay commands, navigate, receive data and
allow ground controllers to talk with space shuttle crews in orbit. Now, after years of
continuous service to more than a dozen missions, NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay
Satellite, TDRS 1 is retiring. And Liftoff, liftoff of the orbiter Challenger
and the sixth flight of the Space shuttle!!!! We have a go for deploy!!! Launched with shuttle Challenger on the orbiter’s
maiden voyage in 1983, TDRS 1 replaced NASA’s reliance upon a system of
ground-based stations having limited global coverage with 24/7 global space communications
capabilities. “When the TDRS went up, it was for the shuttle,
and so the shuttle was really the first mission to use it, and so eventually
then, we had Earth Science missions and Space Science missions and obviously, I think
the most famous is what we do with Hubble today that uses the TDRS space
craft to relay all it’s marvelous pictures of the heavens.” Among other successes, TDRS1 was the first
satellite used to support launches from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the
early 1990s, and it relayed the first phone call between the South and North poles. “When TDRS became a daily service for the
National Science Foundation team at the South Pole they set up their day around
when TDRS F1 was available, normally about 5 to 6 hours a day so they
could do their emails, send files, you know, receive information, communicate with,
you know, their families and loved ones. So, it was, for them it was an absolute
game changer.” And, literally, the South Pole Station’s
lifeline. During a highly-publicized medical emergency there in 1999, U.S. doctors used
TDRS1’s high-speed connectivity to assist weather-stranded scientist Jerri Nielsen through
her own breast-biopsy. TDRS-1 arrived at its final destination, about
22,500 miles above the Earth on June 13 and will be shut down this week to begin the
updating of NASA’s TDRS suite of eight satellites.
“Well, you’re saying goodbye to a friend who has served the nation well, but there
will be more friends that will come along when we launch the next generation of
TDRS space craft.” Three, two, one launch, launch, launch!!! The replica Orion crew module used in the highly-successful
Launch Abort system Pad Abort-1 flight test in New Mexico May 6 has
returned to the Dryden Flight Research Center. The crew module and its separation
ring were airlifted back to Dryden from Holloman Air Force Base near the White Sands
Missile Range test site. Dryden engineers and technicians will spend several
months inspecting the module and all of its systems for possible use in another abort
flight test. The Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station
and the Marshall Space Flight Center welcomed members of the STS-131 crew to share
highlights from their recent 15-day mission to the International Space Station. In April, the seven-member crew aboard shuttle
Discovery ferried to the complex a number of projects overseen by Glenn and Marshall,
including four space experiments designed, fabricated, tested and managed by
Glenn, and a multipurpose logistics module containing the Window Observational
Research Facility, or WORF — an Earth science observatory rack under Marshall’s
charge. “We get the honor and privilege of going
to fly in space but without the thousands and thousands of people, here and
around the country, working on the space shuttle program, it would not be a success
like it is today.” Commander Alan Poindexter led the STS-131
mission, and Jim Dutton served as the pilot. Mission Specialists were Rick Mastracchio,
Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf- Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki. STS-131 was the 33rd space
shuttle mission to the ISS. While soccer fans around the world watch and
await the winner of the 2010 World Cup, student players from the U.S. and Canada heard
scientists and engineers from the Ames Research Center’s Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
explain the aerodynamics of the “Jabulani” soccer ball. Specially designed
for this year’s tournament, the “Jabulani,” which means celebration in Zulu, has come
under criticism from World Cup goalkeepers who claim the ball can be unpredictable in
flight. During a special presentation, professional
soccer player Stephen Beitashour of the San Jose Earthquakes helped a NASA physicist
identify the reason for the ball’s “flightiness:” an aerodynamic principle
called the “knuckle.” “You can see here just from the trail how
the ball changes directions as its flying away, away from us, and that’s what the
knuckling effect is, and with the smoother balls that critical speed at which
this knuckling occurs is increased and that is why you are seeing more of it.”
The event was part of NASA’s Long Distance Learning Network Webcast. And that’s This Week @ NASA. For more on these and other stories log on
to: www.nasa.gov

4 thoughts on “Polar Ice Study, Soccer Ball Science and Communication Satellite Retired This Week @ NASA

  1. @geargemartin
    "I think we understand the mechanisms of CO2 and climate better than we do of what causes lung cancer…In fact, it is fair to say that global warming may be the most carefully and fully studied scientific topic in human history."
    — Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences

    "Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around global warming is rare in science."
    — Donald Kennedy, editor of Science

  2. @geargemartin The debate may be over based on the evidence we have, but you're always welcome to actually attempt to do science…

  3. @geargemartin lol, roman piers half a mile from shore? do you know what you are saying? there would be evidence around the world of 'piers' that are mysteriously half a mile away from the sea. MORON!

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