Science and Technology News

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Media Invited to Simulation of Asteroid Mission

J.D. Harrington / Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington

Brandi Dean
Johnson Space Center, Houston

HOUSTON – An astronaut and geologist will camp out in a prototype Space Exploration Vehicle this week to simulate an asteroid mission at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Astronaut Al Drew and geologist Jose M. Hurtado of the University of Texas in El Paso will spend three days and two nights living inside the Space Exploration Vehicle, or SEV's, cabin.

Media representatives interested in seeing part of the simulation at 2:30 p.m. CST Thursday, Jan. 19, must contact Brandi Dean at brandi.k.dean@nasa.gov by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The public is invited to ask the crew questions via Twitter @Desert_RATS for a Twitterview the crew will participate in at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. Questions should be marked #SEV. RATS stands for Research and Technology Studies.

The SEV will be placed on an air-bearing floor to allow it to virtually float, much the way a hockey puck floats on an air hockey table. This will allow the crew to see how the SEV would handle in a microgravity environment and evaluate the view from the vehicle's windows.

During the media opportunity, one crew member will be conducting a simulated spacewalk in the virtual reality laboratory as the other assists from inside the SEV. Journalists also will be able to see the rover moving on the air-bearing floor as the crew simulates driving it in microgravity.

For information about the RATS tests, visit http://www.nasa.gov/desertrats.

For more information about the SEV, visit http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/SEV.html.

Follow the RATS via Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Desert_RATS.

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