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The 2005 Perseid Meteor Shower

Thursday, July 28, 2005

star map
A Perseid sky map. The red dot denotes the shower's radiant, a point in the eastern sky from which meteors appear to stream. Image credit: Science@NASA

The Perseids come every year, beginning in late July and stretching into August. Sky watchers outdoors at the right time can see colorful fireballs, occasional outbursts and, almost always, long hours of gracefully streaking meteors. Among the many nights of the shower, there is always one night that is best. This year: August 12th.

More: Science@NASA - Mars joins the Perseid meteor shower for a beautiful display on August 12th

Discovery Docks With ISS

Thursday, July 28, 2005

STS-114 astronauts
From left, STS-114 astronauts Steve Robinson, Jim Kelly, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Charlie Camarda, Eileen Collins and Soichi Noguchi. Photo credit: NASA.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s seven astronauts entered the International Space Station (ISS) at 8:50 a.m. EDT today, where they were greeted by the Expedition 11 crew. On the ground, NASA officials provided reporters an update on today’s activities and imagery analysis. The visit to the ISS primarily to test and evaluate new safety procedures. There have been many safety improvements to the Shuttle, including a redesigned external tank, new sensors and a boom that will allow astronauts to inspect the Shuttle for any potential damage.

Two crewmembers, Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi, will venture outside the Shuttle three times on spacewalks. The first will demonstrate repair techniques on the Shuttle's protective tiles, known as the Thermal Protection System. During the second spacewalk, they'll replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope, which helps keep the Station oriented properly. Finally, they'll install the External Stowage Platform, a sort of space shelf for holding spare parts during Station construction. STS-114 will also be the third trip of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module named Raffaello to the Station. It's essentially a "moving van" that transports supplies to the orbital outpost.

More: NASA - Discovery Docks; STS-114 Crew Enters ISS

Link: NASA - Return to Flight


Deep Impact Success

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

The image depicts the first moments after Deep Impact's probe interfaced with comet Tempel 1. More...

This image was taken by Deep Impact's high-resolution camera. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD
After 172 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million miles) of deep space stalking, Deep Impact successfully reached out and touched comet Tempel 1. The collision between the coffee table-sized impactor and city-sized comet occurred at 1:52 a.m. EDT.

"What a way to kick off America's Independence Day," said Deep Impact Project Manager Rick Grammier of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The challenges of this mission and teamwork that went into making it a success, should make all of us very proud."

"This mission is truly a smashing success," said Andy Dantzler, director of NASA's Solar System Division. "Tomorrow and in the days ahead we will know a lot more about the origins of our solar system."

More: NASA/JPL - Deep Impact Kicks Off Fourth of July with Deep Space Fireworks

Link: NASA/JPL - Deep Impact Mission Web Site