ASTRONOMY: NASA’s Deep Space Exploration
Once again, America is leading the world in a bold new adventure to ensure the expansion of knowledge, economic growth, as well as a better understanding of life and how the universe functions. Deep space exploration will open new worlds of learning and technological advancement that will lead to new discoveries in medicine, technology, engineering and physics. This exciting episode of SCIENCE SCREEN REPORT explores NASA’s capability to take humanity farther into the solar system than we have ever gone before and will look at the science behind this fantastic journey.
Space exploration has fascinated generations. Since its origin nearly sixty years ago, the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) has fostered inventions for use in space exploration and are now part of our daily life.
From Nike Air sneakers to the hand-held vacuum cleaner to the grooved airplane landing strips and breathing apparatus
equipment for rescue personnel, NASA’s influence continues to permeate our culture.
Contributing to NASA’s remarkable discoveries is the use of unmanned space probes like the Voyagers, Messenger
and Galileo. Voyager 2 studied Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, and sent back high resolution images of Triton, as
well as the astonishing news that this moon travels backwards. Messenger’s discovery and images of Mercury’s
Caloris Basin reflect another mystery of the Universe: how was a basin created in the first place? Galileo’s mission
to Jupiter revealed another fascinating discovery: the presence of water on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede. The freezing
temperatures of the atmosphere result in a top layer of ice, but underneath scientists were astounded by the
discovery of layers of unfrozen water.
Today, deep space exploration continues with the development of the Space Launch System, an advanced
heavy-lift launch vehicle that is comprised of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, cargo, equipment and science
experiments. The Space Launch System will test new capabilities in the exploration of Mars, exploring where no
human has ventured before.
Aerospace engineer: Engineer who is concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft.
Artificial muscle systems: inhuman materials or devices that are implanted in animals
Astronaut: A person who is trained to travel in space or in a spacecraft.
Astrophysics: The branch of astronomy that uses the principles of physics and chemistry to understand the
nature of planets and other bodies in space.
Atmospheric chemist: An atmospheric scientist who studies the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere and
Atmospheric physicist: An atmospheric scientist who studies the physics of the Earth’s atmosphere and other
Atmospheric science: The scientific study of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets.
Biologist: A scientist who studies living organisms such as plants and animals/mammals.
Budget analyst: A financial professional who tries to find the most efficient way to distribute funds and/or
other resources among a particular organization or department.
Caloris Basin: The crater formed on the surface of Mercury that is one of the largest impact basins in the
Climatologist: An atmospheric scientist who studies the Earth’s climate as well as other planets by analyzing
and collecting data.
Deep space: The space beyond the limits of the solar system.
Dynamic meteorologist: A specialized meteorologist who studies the motions of the atmosphere as well as
what causes them.
Electronics technician: A specialized technology professional who maintains and repairs electronic equipment
of various types.
Galileo spacecraft: Unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA that studied the planet Jupiter and its moons.
Ganymede: The largest moon on Jupiter.
International Space Station: The large spacecraft that orbits around the Earth where astronauts live and
science is conducted.
IT specialist: A professional who applies technical expertise to maintaining computer-based information
Messenger: Unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA that studied the planet Mercury.
Meteorite: A meteor that passes through the atmosphere and strikes the ground from outer space
Oceanographer: A scientist who studies the ocean.
Orion spacecraft: Exploration vehicle that is part of the Space Launch System that will take humans into Deep
Silicon crystals: the photovoltaic, light-absorbing material used in the manufacturing of solar panels.
Space Launch System: NASA designed launch vehicle that will bring human explorers into Deep Space.
Voyager 2: Unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA that studied the planet Neptune and its moon, specifically
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- ■ Why NASA explores: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/whyweexplore/Why_We_09.html
■ Fifty years of NASA: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/50-years-50-giant-leaps-how-nasa-rocked-our-world-879377.html
■ Deep Space Exploration: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/sls1.html#.WAED5_krK9J
■ Exploring Deep Space: http://exploredeepspace.com/
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