Spacewalkers Install Shield Against Micrometeoroids
Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) took a spacewalk to install panels to help shield a service module from micro-meteoroids.
ISS Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov stepped outside the station and installed five additional debris protection panels on the conical section of the Zvezda Service Module, the area between its large and small diameters.
The aluminum debris protection panels are designed to shield the module from micro-meteoroids.
Also during the spacewalk, the cosmonauts relocated a Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna cable. The cosmonauts moved the GPS cable to assist the rendezvous and docking of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle later this year.
Another spacewalk is set for Wednesday. Then, Yurchikhin and Kotov are set to wear Russian spacesuits again and install 12 additional protection panels on Zvezda.
They also will install a section of an Ethernet cable on the Zarya module and a Russian experiment called Biorisk on the Pirs Docking Compartment.
During the second spacewalk, Flight Engineer Suni Williams will remain aboard the station as the spacewalk choreographer, as she did in the previous extravehicular activity, advising and keeping the spacewalkers on schedule.
Griffin On Global Warming
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin commented on NPR that although it seems clear there is global warming, it isn’t clear whether and what response might be required.
Later, he issued a statement explaining that while the space agency monitors Earth, the environment and related matters, it isn’t up to NASA to initiate actions to curb global warming.
“NASA is the world’s preeminent organization in the study of Earth and the conditions that contribute to climate change and global warming,” Griffin explained.
“The agency is responsible for collecting data that is used by the science community and policy makers as part of an ongoing discussion regarding our planet’s evolving systems,” he noted.
Then he explained that NASA is involved in studying and researching conditions on the blue planet, but isn’t charged with correcting problems once they are discovered.
“It is NASA’s responsibility to collect, analyze and release information,” Griffin said. “It is not NASA’s mission to make policy regarding possible climate change mitigation strategies. As I stated in the NPR interview, we are proud of our role and I believe we do it well.”