“Here’s some of the stories trending This
Week at NASA!” Satellite data continues to enable weather
forecasters to look inside and outside of powerful hurricanes. Imagery from NOAA’s GOES East satellite, captured
Sept. 17 to Sept. 20, shows Hurricane Jose along the U.S. east coast, and Hurricane Maria,
as it moved through the Leeward Islands, strengthening to a Category 5 hurricane, and making landfall
in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, The Global Precipitation Measurement
(GPM) satellite found rain falling inside Maria at a rate of over 6.44 inches per hour
in powerful storms that reached above 9.7 miles high. SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft was released
from the International Space Station and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Sept 17. A variety of technological and biological
studies returned in Dragon – including an experiment to test strategies for growing
new lung tissue, and a study designed to help scientists better understand the pathology
of Parkinson’s disease. On Sept. 22, the new Katherine G. Johnson
Computational Research Facility was officially opened at Langley Research Center in Hampton,
Va. Johnson, who is now 99 years old, worked as
a “human computer” at Langley in the 1960’s, calculating trajectories for America’s first
spaceflights. The new 37,000-square-foot state-of-the-art
facility will be used for innovative research and development in support of our air mobility
and space exploration missions. Our OSIRIS REx spacecraft used Earth’s gravity
on Sept. 22 to slingshot itself onto a path toward the asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx launched Sept. 8, 2016, on an Atlas
V rocket. The rocket provided the momentum required
to propel the spacecraft forward to Bennu, but it needed help from Earth’s gravity
to change its orbital plane. OSIRIS REx is scheduled to arrive at Bennu
in late 2018. The Hubble Space Telescope was used to image
an asteroid in September 2016 just before it made its closest approach to the Sun. Hubble’s crisp images revealed that it was
actually not one, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other
at a distance of 60 miles. A Sept. 21 event at the Smithsonian National
Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, featured two
new challenges to engage the public in our future missions. Activities included a challenge to show why
3D printing technology is important to the future of space travel, as well as a challenge
with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance the development of aerosol
sensor technologies, which can help improve air quality and health in space and on Earth. And that’s what’s up this week @NASA … For more on these and other stories follow
us on the web at www.nasa.gov.