NASA Daily News Summary For Release: Feb.

18, 1999 Media Advisory m99-034 TODAY'S SUMMARY: * NASA AIRCRAFT TAKES STUDENT EXPERIMENTS TO NEW HEIGHTS * HEART ASSIST PUMP EFFECTIVE IN EUROPEAN TRIALS * ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES TO BE USED ON ROBOTIC SPACE EXPLORERS VIDEO FILE FOR FEB. 18, 1999 ********** NASA AIRCRAFT TAKES STUDENT EXPERIMENTS TO NEW HEIGHTS College students from around the country are set to take a wild roller coaster-type ride aboard a NASA aircraft in the name of science. NASA's 1999 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program, funded by NASA and administered by the Texas Space Grant Consortium, Austin, TX, will take up to 96 teams of undergraduate students aloft in a KC-135A aircraft to study the effects of microgravity on various scientific experiments. This year, the students will fly in two separate sessions with the first 48 teams flying in March and the rest in August. The NASA KC-135A aircraft flies over the Gulf of Mexico. During each two- to three-hour flight, the aircraft maneuvers through a series of about 40 steep climbs and descents, called parabolas. Depending on the precise trajectory flown by the plane, the passengers and their experiments can experience about 25 seconds of a zero-gravity environment on each parabola. The KC-135A aircraft is used to introduce astronauts to the feeling of microgravity, test hardware and experiments destined for spaceflight, and evaluate medical protocols that may be used in space. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Beth Schmid 202/358-1760. Contact at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX: Eileen M. Hawley 281/483-5111.

For full text, see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/1999/99-021.txt ^^^^^ HEART ASSIST PUMP EFFECTIVE IN EUROPEAN TRIALS A miniaturized ventricular-assist pump, developed for heart patients using NASA technology, has been successfully implanted into seven people in European clinical trials. More than 20 additional implants are expected by mid-1999. This use of the underlying NASA technology, based in part on that used in Space Shuttle fuel pumps, has resulted in a remarkable battery-operated pump. It is two inches long, one inch in diameter and weighs less than four ounces. It is small enough to fit into a child's chest. The concept for the pump began with talks between Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Michael DeBakey and one of his heart transplant patients, a NASA engineer who worked at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He knew first-hand the urgency heart-failure patients feel waiting for a donor heart, and he knew Space Shuttle technology. After his own heart transplant, the engineer worked evenings and weekends on the initial pump design, along with Dr. DeBakey and others. About 5 million Americans suffer from heart failure annually. Approximately 35,000 heart failure patients need transplants each year, but only 2,500 donor hearts are available. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Michael Braukus 202/358-1979. Contact at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX: John Ira Petty 281/483-5111. For full text, see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/1999/99-022.txt ^^^^^ ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES TO BE USED ON ROBOTIC SPACE EXPLORERS

Artificial muscles designed to give space robots animallike flexibility and manipulation ability will get their first test on a small NASA rover destined to explore an asteroid. The artificial muscles are based on a simple, lightweight strip of highly flexible plastic that bends and functions similarly to human fingers when electrical voltage is applied to it. The technology is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, The technology could lead in the future to the development of insect-like robots that emulate biological creatures. Years from now, these devices could also conceivably replace damaged human muscles, leading to partially "bionic men" and "bionic women" of the future, according researchers. In the near-term, the technology will be tested in the form of miniature wipers to clear dust off the viewing windows of optical and infrared science instruments on the Mu Space Engineering Spacecraft (MUSES-CN) nanorover. This mission, led by the Japanese space agency ISAS, is designed to land the palm-sized rover on an asteroid following its 2002 launch, and return a sample of the asteroid to Earth. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Doug Isbell 202/358-1753. Contact at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA: John G. Watson 818/354-5011. For full text, see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/1999/99-023.txt ********** If NASA issues any news releases later today, we will e-mail summaries and Internet URLs to this list. Index of 1998 NASA News Releases: http://www.nasa.gov/releases/1998/index.html Index of 1999 NASA News Releases: http://www.nasa.gov/releases/1999/index.html **********

VIDEO FILE FOR FEB. 18, 1999 ITEM 1. ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES ITEM 2. HUBBLE FINDS MORE EVIDENCE OF GALACTIC CANNIBALISM ^^^^^ ITEM 1. ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES Footage to accompany release above, including nanorover and miniature wipers. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Doug Isbell 202/358-1753. Contact at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA: John G. Watson 818/354-5011. ITEM 2. HUBBLE FINDS MORE EVIDENCE OF GALACTIC CANNIBALISM Eerie silhouette of dark dust clouds against the glowing nucleus of the elliptical galaxy NGC 1316 may represent the aftermath of a 100 million year-old cosmic collision between the elliptical and a smaller companion galaxy. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Donald Savage 202/358-1727. Contact at Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD: Ray Villard 410/338-4707. ^^^^^ NASA normally airs the Video File at noon, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 p.m. and midnight Eastern Time. NASA Television is available on GE-2, transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8 megahertz. Ray Castillo NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: 202/358-4555. For the most recent NASA Video File Advisory, see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/tv-advisory/nasa-tv.txt For general information on NASA Television, see:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv ********** CONTRACT AWARDS NASA posts contract awards to: http://procurement.nasa.gov/EPS/award.html NASA issues the Daily News Summary at approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on business days when we issue news releases, new Video File material or schedule live events. Members of the news media who wish to subscribe to or unsubscribe from this list should send an e-mail message to: brian.dunbar@hq.nasa.gov END OF DAILY NEWS SUMMARY