ISS STATUS REPORT: SS04-032

With less than a month remaining in their stay aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Science Officer Mike Fincke are preparing the orbiting laboratory for its next residents.

The crew’s work this week included taking inventory, performing maintenance on exercise equipment and continued troubleshooting of the primary onboard oxygen generator.
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Space-tech – Paralympics – World Record

Wojtek Czyz running with a space-tech enhanced prosthetic leg, set a new world record in Athens Saturday in 200 m sprint, adding another gold medal to his 100 m sprint gold from last Tuesday. He completed the 200 m sprint in 26.18 seconds, 22 hundreds of a second faster than the previous world record of 26.40 seconds in June 2002.

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http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMQR9ADFZD_FeatureWeek_0.html

Mars Express latest findings

Recent results from the ASPERA-3 instrument on board Mars Express confirm that a very efficient process is at work in the Martian atmosphere which could explain the loss of water. Water is believed to have once been abundant on the Red Planet. Professor Rickard Lundin, leader of the ASPERA-3 team, describes these findings in a paper published in the latest issue of ‘Science’.

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http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEM75BADFZD_0.html

ATACAMA ROVER HELPS NASA

A dedicated team of scientists is spending the next four weeks in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. They are studying the scarce life that exists there and, in the process, helping NASA learn more about how primitive life forms could exist on Mars.

The NASA funded researchers are studying the Atacama Desert, described as the most arid region on Earth, to understand the desert as a habitat that represents one of the limits of life on Earth. The project, part of NASA’s Astrobiology Science and Technology Program for Exploring Planets, involves technology experiments to test robotic capabilities for mobility, autonomy and science.
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SCIENTISTS REPORT THINNING OF ANTARCTIC GLACIERS

Glaciers in West Antarctica are shrinking at a rate substantially higher than observed in the 1990s. They are losing 60 percent more ice into the Amundsen Sea than they accumulate from inland snowfall.

The study was conducted by a science team from NASA, U.S. universities and from the Centro de Estudios Científicos in Chile. It is based on satellite data and comprehensive measurements made in 2002 by a science team aboard a Chilean P-3 aircraft equipped with NASA sensors. Science Express published the findings.
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First Galileo experimental satellite model

The structural model of the first of two experimental Galileo satellites to be launched in 2005, is currently being tested at the European Space Agency’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (NL). Over the coming weeks ESA will assess the design worthiness of this satellite model from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

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http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM3WZ9DFZD_index_0.html

GLACIERS SURGE WHEN ICE SHELF BREAKS UP

Since 2002, when the Larsen B ice shelf broke away from the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists have witnessed profound increases in the flow of nearby glaciers into the Weddell Sea. These observations were made possible through NASA, Canadian and European satellite data.

Two NASA-funded reports, appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, used different techniques to arrive at similar results. Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md., and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Boulder, Colo., said the findings prove ice shelves act as “brakes” on the glaciers that flow into them. The results also suggest climate warming can rapidly lead to rises in sea level.
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The best view of all is our beautiful planet

You’re speeding through space at 28 000 kilometres per hour, at times the outside temperature gets down to a chilling minus two hundred degrees Celsius, there is no quick getaway. You’re an astronaut, living on board the International Space Station (ISS).

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http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMK281XDYD_astronauts_0.html

PROMETHEUS MISSION TO JUPITER

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., selected Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the contractor for co-designing the proposed Prometheus Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) spacecraft. The contract award is for approximately $400 million, covering work through mid-2008.

The Prometheus JIMO mission is an ambitious mission to orbit and explore three planet-sized moons, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa, of Jupiter. The moons may have vast oceans beneath their icy surfaces. A nuclear reactor would enable the mission, which would launch in the next decade.
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