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article imageSpacewalk Marks 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing

By Cristina Quiñones     Jul 20, 2009 in World
Today, crew members aboard the space shuttle Endeavor awoke to a song befitting the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing -- the theme from the 1960s show “The Thunderbirds.”
Although a ceremony was held at the White House today to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins’s “giant leap for mankind,” astronauts Dave Wolf and Tom Marshburn will pay homage to the first moon landing in their own way. Earlier today, the astronauts began a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station to anchor a 6-foot dish antenna and a pump onto the Space Station. This marks the 202nd spacewalk since the Apollo 11 mission.
The Endeavor Mission (also referred to as STS-127) began its 16 day round trip voyage last Wednesday after a series of delays caused by faulty equipment and inclement weather. During the mission, the Endeavor crew will work to complete construction of Japan's Kibo space laboratory aboard the International Space Station. The astronauts will add a porch-like platform (lovingly nicknamed Jeff, for “Japanese Exposed Facility) to the lab's exterior, which will allow experiments to be exposed to the vacuum of outer space.
According to mission specialist Dave Wolf said the following in a NASA interview:
It's a large external porch to the space station where high quality experiments can be conducted in [the]high vacuum of space … It's really an exceptionally valuable piece of real estate being produced in outer space. It has its own robotic arms, the ability to do observations of the Earth and of the sky, astrophysics experiments, a very wide range of abilities.
The platform, measuring 18 feet wide, 16 feet high and 13 feet long, can hold up to 10 experiments at a time. NASA asserts that experiments conducted on the platform will allow scientists to test theories of “photo processing, photo-biology and exobiology.” The research will explore the effects of space on a wide variety of subjects including chemistry, microorganisms and seeds.
The International Space Station may hold the key to mankind’s next ”giant leap.” The term “Kibo,” which means hope in Japanese, is a fitting name for a laboratory that may someday yield the advances necessary to allow humans to permanently reside in outer space. As grim as the prospect of permanent human residence in outer space may be, it is not an unfathomable possibility as the Earth’s environment continues to deteriorate.
Aldrin has expressed his hopes that someday “magnificent desolation will become magnificent inspiration.” Now, 40 years after the lunar landing, his desire may become a reality as astronauts keep the legacy of space exploration alive and continue to explore the cosmos in the endeavor to sustain life.
More about Spacewalk, Moon landing, Buzz aldrin, Rocket experience, Moon
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