By Gregory MonePosted 11.01.2007 at 11:17 am 4 Comments
NASA is planning an emergency repair of the damaged solar panel astronauts discovered recently outside the International Space Station. Set to take place on Saturday, just a few days before the shuttle returns home, the plan will require two spacewalking astronauts, and it's risky but necessary.
If NASA does nothing, the tear could worsen and the entire panel might have to be jettisoned. Yes, the ISS does have a few more at its disposal, but this panel provides 15% of the station's electricity, and the ISS needs every bit of that to incorporate the planned new modules. The fix will require some ingenuity, as the ripped panel is far from an anchoring point for the spacewalking repairman. But NASA has pulled off plenty of feats like this before.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 08.20.2007 at 1:47 pm 3 Comments
Experiments of the basil-in-space variety don't always seem to be worth all the money and effort put into NASA's shuttle flights, but photos like the one at left, taken by spacewalking astronauts this Saturday, get to one of the core reasons we're up there in the first place: Perspective.
This shot of the eye of Hurricane Dean is stunning in and of itself, but it's the fact that people were up there in orbit, high above the planet, that really resonates. (It's also reminiscent of a scene in 2004's global warming thriller The Day After Tomorrow, in which astronauts watch the apocalyptic storms forming and growing.) Astronaut Clayton Anderson described it as "scary," and fellow space-walker Dave Williams said, "Holy smokes, that's impressive." The two astronauts briefly paused in their duties on Saturday to take the shots of the storm, and while Hurricane Dean doesn't appear to pose any threat to a safe landing, NASA has cut short this latest mission. Endeavour is now scheduled for a Tuesday landing.—Gregory Mone