Links Its Past
To Its Future
|John Glenn Back in Space. Space Station Assembly. Planet At Another Star. Gamma Ray Burst. Ice on the Moon. Antarctic Ozone Hole. Magnetar. First Woman Shuttle Commander.
NASA Honored the Past and Opened the Future in 1998
The space agency celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1998 by linking its past to its future. John Glenn returned to space after 36 years to research the similar physical effects that aging and spaceflight have on humans. The biological effects of spaceflight will be one research component of the International Space Station, which began construction in 1998. Here are the top NASA stories for 1998:
John Glenn Returns to Space
Senator John Glenn was named as a payload specialist last Jan. 16, and assigned to the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was launched Oct. 29, 1998, on a nine-day mission.
Learn more about John Glenn
First International Space Station Assembly
Phase II -- construction in orbit -- began with the first station elements launched in 1998: Zarya in November and Unity in December. Next, the first wholly Russian contribution, a component called the Service Module, will be launched from Russia in 1999.
Learn more about the International Space Station and more about ISS
Hubble Takes Image of Possible Planet Around Another Star
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope gave astronomers their first direct look at what is possibly a planet outside our solar system -- one apparently that has been ejected into deep space by its parent stars.
Learn more about Hubble and planets outside our Solar System
Lunar Prospector Discovers Ice on Moon
There is a high probability that water ice exists at both the north and south poles of the Moon, according to initial scientific data returned by NASA's Lunar Prospector this year.
Learn more about water ice at the Moon's poles
Eileen Collins Named First Woman Shuttle Commander
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced from the White House in early 1998 that astronaut Eileen Collins (Lt. Col., USAF) would become the first woman to command a Space Shuttle when Columbia launches on the STS-93 mission in March 1999.
Learn more about Eileen Collins
Most Powerful Gamma Ray Burst since Big Bang
A cosmic gamma ray burst detected this year released a hundred times more energy than previously theorized, making it the most powerful explosion since the creation of the universe in the Big Bang.
Learn more about cosmic gamma ray bursts
A neutron star, located 40,000 light years from Earth, is generating the most intense magnetic field yet observed in the Universe, according to an international team of astronomers led by scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL.
Learn more about magentars
Antarctic Ozone Hole
In late 1997, larger levels of ozone depletion were observed over the Arctic than in any previous year on record. In 1998, using climate models, a team of scientists reported why this may be related to greenhouse gases. (Ozone animation.) Later in the year, NASA satellites showed that the geographic area covered by Antarctic ozone depletion was the largest ever.
Learn more about Antarctic ozone depletion
NASA Studies La Nina
Research scientists using data from the SeaWiFS, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and TOPEX/POSEIDON satellites are shedding new light on the phenomenon known as La Nina. The images show the dissipation of El Nino through changes in sea-surface temperature and height, biological productivity and ocean current movement. While it is too early to draw definite conclusions, the results to date appear to confirm the onset of La Nina-type conditions.
Learn more about oceanography satellites
NASA's remotely piloted, solar-powered Pathfinder-Plus flying wing reached a record altitude of more than 80,000 feet during a developmental test flight Aug. 6 in Hawaii. The altitude is the highest ever achieved by a propeller-driven craft and surpasses the official record altitude of 71,530 feet for a solar-powered aircraft set by an earlier version of the Pathfinder last summer.
Learn more about high-flying airplanes
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