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International Space Station (ISS) Spotting

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Sky watchers on Earth could have a chance at a real show: a bright star materializing like a supernova in the predawn sky. That's what the ISS looks like (from the ground) when it's hit by rays from the morning Sun. It happens often enough, but most people have never seen it because they don't know when to look. The first week of Sept. is a good time to try. That's when the ISS will fly over several major US cities before dawn, and if you're outside at the right moment you can spot a "space station supernova." You'll have to wake up early, around 5 o'clock in the morning...

More: Science@NASA - Space Station Supernova (including a listing of local times in September when the ISS will materialize over some US cities)

Prepping for Mars! Rover Field Tests

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

When the two Mars Exploration Rovers arrive at the red planet in January 2004, mission scientists will rely on them to make discoveries. To prepare for intense operations during the mission, NASA's scientists and engineers work with a rover here on Earth called FIDO. Field tests with FIDO allow the team to formulate hypotheses about the geologic environment and use the rover to test them. The August 2002 tests went really well. The science team met their mission success criteria, which included going to at least two different locations (other than the landing site) and making extensive measurements, driving 200 meters (656 feet), and digging a soil trench with one of the rover's wheels...

More: JPL - FIDO Field Test

Link: Cornell MER Athena Team - FIDO Rover