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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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Parker Solar Probe Working As Planned: NASA Mission Controllers

Further instrument check-outs and deployments are scheduled in the coming days for the spacecraft.

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Several other designs on the spacecraft keep Parker Solar Probe sheltered from the heat. Flickr

NASA ‘s historic mission to solve the mysteries of the Sun which was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on August 12 is operating according to plan, mission controllers have said.

As of 12 p.m. EDT on August 16, the Parker Solar Probe was 4.6 million kms from Earth, travelling at 62,764 kms per hour, and heading toward its first Venus flyby scheduled for October 3, 2018, Geoff Brown of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, or APL, in Maryland, wrote in a NASA blog post on Friday.

The spacecraft will use Venus to slightly slow itself and adjust its trajectory for an optimal path toward the first perihelion of the Sun on November 5 this year.

“Parker Solar Probe is operating as designed, and we are progressing through our commissioning activities,” said Project Manager Andy Driesman of APL.

This solar probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth.

The mission has already achieved several planned milestones toward full commissioning and operations, according to the mission controllers.

NASA-Parker-Solar-Probe
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in Space. (IANS)

On August 13, the high-gain antenna, which Parker Solar Probe uses to communicate high-rate science data to Earth, was released from locks which held it stable during launch.

Controllers have also been monitoring the spacecraft as it autonomously uses its thrusters to remove (or “dump”) momentum, which is part of the flight operations of the spacecraft.

Managing momentum helps the spacecraft remain in a stable and optimal flight profile.

There are four instrument suites on board Parker Solar Probe, which will each need to be powered and readied for science data collection.

The FIELDS investigation, which consists of the most elements, went first. It was powered up on August 13 for two activities, Brown said.

First was the opening of the clamps which held four of the five FIELDS antennas stowed during takeoff.

These antennas will be deployed roughly 30 days after launch, and they will stick out from the corners of the spacecraft’s heat shield called the Thermal Protection System and be exposed to the harsh solar environment.

Parker solar probe
The spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. IANS

Second, the spacecraft’s magnetometer boom was fully deployed. This boom contains three magnetometers and a fifth, smaller electric field antenna, all part of the FIELDS suite.

Also Read: India will Send a Manned Flight into Space by 2020: Modi

Further instrument check-outs and deployments are scheduled in the coming days for the spacecraft, Brown said. (IANS)

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