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Awesomeness Round-up – 6/21/10

It’s not often you get to see a satellite re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Recently, a group that included astronomers from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was able to watch the Hayabusa spacecraft do just that. The team viewed the spectacle from aboard a NASA DC-8, which was loaded up with equipment to capture Hayabusa’s high speed re-entry (which was over an unpopulated area of central Australia).

Here’s the video!

In other news, The Large Picture Blog had a fascinating entry on solar eclipses…but as viewed from space!

Here’s one captured by NASA’s MODIS instrument of an eclipse over Antarctica.

Happy Birthday 15th birthday to the Astronomy Picture of the Day!

You might recall that recently 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, who was attempting to sail solo around the world, was rescued from the Southern Indian Ocean. Did you know that NASA technology played a part in her rescue? The emergency beacon that she used transmitted a signal to NOAA weather satellites, which were equipped with NASA-developed repeaters, which relayed the information back to NOAA-operated ground stations. Engineers at the Goddard are actually developing next-generation search and rescue technologies that will more quickly detect and locate distress signals. NASA plans to install the repeaters on Global Position System (GPS), a constellation of 24 spacecraft operating in mid-Earth orbit, rather than having to rely on weather satellites. With GPS satellite coverage, if an emergency signal goes off, at least four satellites would be in view. Almost instantly, processing of the signal can begin to determine its precise location. More information can be found on this feature article on the main NASA site.

(Also, did you know that there is actually a Search and Rescue Mission Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center? I didn’t, til now!)


Here are some other things that we didn’t know where happening around Center – Top Chef DC filmed here! We don’t yet know the details since that episode hasn’t yet aired, but if they were cooking stuff at the cafeteria, we’re very sorry we missed it!

We’ve also just heard that in the premiere episode of History Detectives, the host “consults with experts at Goddard to see if a specific swatch of reflective material ever orbited the earth.” Very cool. This episode is on TONIGHT (6/21/10) on PBS. There’s more information on this in this NASA feature.

Are we tired of hearing about that OK Go video yet? I think I have one more article in me – here’s how the video played with the speed of time.

Hubble found Jupiter’s missing stripe … and gave us more information on what hit the large planet on June 3rd.

Old News, but if you missed these stunning images of the Iceland volcano, you should definitely check them out on Flickr.

Smoke Landscape HDR, originally uploaded by hugeknot.

Speaking of Flickr, did you know that NASA Goddard has a Flickr?

We’ll leave you with this image of a Japanese mission, Ikaros, bound for Venus. A tiny space camera detached itself from this solar sail and snapped some pictures. Read the full story.

Credit: JAXA

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