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*** APRIL 2009 ***

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...Sponsored by NASA Research Park and NASA Ames' Innovative Partnerships Program, the Expo will be featured in Bldg. 943 at Ames from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT, and provide an opportunity for NASA Ames researchers, NASA Research Park (NRP) partners and the Silicon Valley business community to meet, network and discuss technology development collaborations.
"It's very exciting to see the synergy among NASA Research Park partnerships in businesses, universities and non-profits, with NASA Ames researchers that has enhanced the creativity and productivity of all involved," said Michael Marlaire, NRP director at NASA's Ames. "Our Expo will give the public a vision of our future developments, which continues our quest into space, while providing innovative
solutions to our problems on Earth."
More than 40 showcase exhibits from NRP tenants and NASA researchers will be on display, highlighting relevant research and underscoring NASA's vision of leveraging technology for a cleaner, greener Earth.
"Efficient and sustainable systems are absolutely necessary as we set out to explore the solar system. The technology we develop for space can be used to create a sustainable future here on Earth," said Gary Martin, director for New Ventures and Communication at NASA's Ames.

...Engineers have successfully ejected the dust cover from NASA's Kepler telescope, a spaceborne mission soon to begin searching for worlds like Earth.
"The cover released and flew away exactly as we designed it to do," said Kepler Project Manager James Fanson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This is a critical step toward answering a question that has come down to us across 100 generations of human history -- are there other planets like Earth, or are we alone in the galaxy?"
Kepler, which launched on March 6 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., will spend three-and-a-half years staring at more than 100,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy for signs of Earth-size planets. Some of the planets are expected to orbit in a star's "habitable zone," a warm region where water could pool on the surface. The mission's science instrument, called a photometer, contains the largest camera ever flown in space -- its 42 charge-coupled devices (CCDs) will detect slight dips in starlight, which occur when planets passing in front of their stars partially block the light from Kepler's view.
The telescope's oval-shaped dust cover, measuring 1.7 meters by 1.3 meters (67 inches by 52 inches), protected the photometer from contamination before and after launch. The dust cover also blocked stray light from entering the telescope during launch -- light that could have damaged its sensitive detectors. In addition, the cover was important for calibrating the photometer. Images taken in the dark helped characterize noise coming from the instrument's electronics, and this noise will later be removed from the actual science data.
"Now the photometer can see the stars and will soon start the task of detecting the planets," said Kepler's Science Principal Investigator William Borucki at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "We have thoroughly measured the background noise so that our photometer can detect minute changes in a star's brightness caused by planets." ...

...Erick Young, a widely recognized authority on infrared astronomy, has been appointed science mission operations director for NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
Young's appointment marks a major milestone for the airborne observatory, a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft fitted with a 2.5-meter/98-inch diameter infrared telescope. SOFIA is slated to begin its "first light" observations in early winter 2009-2010 as part of the airborne telescope's 20-year celestial observation program.
Young, who specializes in designing science instruments, has participated in virtually all of NASA's space infrared astronomy missions to date. Most recently, Young was responsible for developing the Spitzer Space Telescope's Multiband Imaging Photometer 3 (MIPS-3) detector array that provides both imaging and spectroscopic data at far-infrared wavelengths.
As SOFIA science mission operations director, Young will direct, supervise, and provide technical and management guidance for the combined Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Deutsches SOFIA Institute (DSI) staff. He also will manage the airborne observatory's equipment, instruments, support facilities, and infrastructure to maximize its science productivity. Young will oversee planning and execution of the program's early science milestones in support of the SOFIA Science Center for initial scientific observations, as well as the continued development of the observatory. SOFIA is expected to achieve its full science operating capability by 2014.
Young is a member of NASA's science oversight committee for the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) scheduled for installation on the Hubble Space Telescope during space shuttle Atlantis' 11-day flight targeted for launch May 12 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The WFC3 will be Hubble's most technologically advanced instrument. In addition, Young is directing construction of the infrared detector arrays for the James Webb Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam).
Young is the recipient of the George Van Biesbroeck Prize, awarded annually by the American Astronomical Society for long-term achievement in astronomy, as well as five NASA Group Achievement Awards...