For Endeavour team, 25 hours of joy

The crew of space shuttle Endeavour, in the first days of a mission to create the most precise maps of the Earth ever, has had nothing but good news for scientists back on the planet.

Not only is the radar survey of Earth's terrain proceeding without a hitch, but by Sunday morning the six astronauts had already mapped about 9 million square miles of Earth's surface, an area roughly three times the size of the United States.

The early results excited scientists on the ground. "This has been the best 25 hours and 19 minutes of my life so far," said Michael Kobrick, a scientist working at Mission Control. That's how long Endeavour had been in orbit.

NASA thought the deployment of the 197-foot radar antenna mast in the shuttle cargo bay might cause trouble. But the astronauts had no problems sending the mast out Friday, finishing early enough to begin mapping a bit ahead of schedule.

All the radar information is stored on data tapes aboard Endeavour. After nine days of mapping, the astronauts hope to fill nearly 300 tapes, or the equivalent of 13,500 compact discs.

Scientists expect it will take one to two years to analyze all the information. But snippets of data were sent down for analysis, and mission officials said they appeared to be of excellent quality.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK