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NASA space camps to find astronauts for Mars journey

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Washington: NASA is organizing space camps for the young would-be astronauts this summer and the best ones may join the US space missions, including Mars.

Thousands of children will gather at the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida and the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, to learn what it takes to be an astronaut for deeper space missions, the Guardian reported.

The kids will have first-hand experience of constructing and launching model rockets made of paper tubes and PVC pipes and experiencing the pull of a microgravity simulator.

They will also be taught to plan and execute a mission on board a full-size space shuttle mock-up.

“Each activity is planned to bring out team-building and problem-solving skills among children,” the US space agency said.

“It is about allowing their natural curiosity to run its course and sowing the seeds that might eventually lead them into space,” it added.

“I’m going to be a computer engineer, helping to launch rockets to go deeper into space,” 11-year-old Colin Cox was quoted as saying.

“The kids believe they can be the next person in that spacecraft. We may not be launching people now, but by the time they’ve finished school, we’ll be there,” Kerri Lubeski, chief educator of Camp KSC, was quoted as saying.

The Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA will be the largest rocket ever built, with the aim of a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s.

Its first unmanned test flight is set for no later than November 2018.

(IANS)

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Hubble Returns To Normal Functioning Soon: NASA

After the engineering tests have been completed, Hubble is expected to soon return to normal science operations, NASA stated

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Hubble's backup gyro, which had been off for more than 7.5 years, was incorrectly returning extremely high rotation rates. Flcikr

NASA has brought Hubble Space Telescope’s seven-year old backup gyroscope (gyro) back to life, after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro earlier this month, the US space agency said on Tuesday.

A gyro is a device that measures the speed at which the spacecraft is turning and is needed to help Hubble turn and lock on to new targets.

Hubble’s backup gyro, which had been off for more than 7.5 years, was incorrectly returning extremely high rotation rates, NASA said in a statement.

Hubble
The Hubble Telescope hovering in space. Wikimedia Commons

This gyro was turned on after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro on October 5.

Additional tests will be performed to ensure Hubble can return to science operations with this gyro, NASA said.

To correct high rotation rates, the Hubble team executed a running restart of the gyro on October 16.

This procedure turned the gyro off for one second, and then restarted it before the wheel spun down.

However, the data showed no improvement in the gyro’s performance.

Hubble Telescope. red dwarf
This gyro was turned on after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro on October 5. Flickr

The team, then on October 18, commanded a series of spacecraft maneuvers, or turns, in opposite directions to attempt to clear any blockage that may have caused the float to be off-centre and produce the exceedingly high rates.

During each maneuver, the gyro was switched from high mode to low mode to dislodge any blockage that may have accumulated around the float.

They noticed a significant reduction in the high rates, allowing rates to be measured in low mode for brief periods of time.

On October 19, the team again commanded Hubble to perform additional maneuvers and gyro mode switches, which appear to have cleared the issue.

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The planet Mars is shown May 12, 2016 in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope view when it was 50 million miles from Earth. VOA

The rotation rates produced by the backup gyro have since reduced and are now within an expected range, NASA noted.

Also Read: New Gamma-Ray Collection Named After Hulk, Godzilla: NASA

The team plans to execute a series of tests to evaluate the performance of the gyro under conditions similar to those encountered during routine science observations, including moving to targets, locking on to a target, and performing precision pointing.

After these engineering tests have been completed, Hubble is expected to soon return to normal science operations, NASA stated. (IANS)

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