When Elon Musk's Dragon spacecraft re-entered earth's atmosphere last week, it did so courtesy of a heat shield material developed and tested at NASA Ames.
At Ames the material was tested to withstand temperatures of 3.450 degrees — twice that of hot lava. Tiles only a few inches thick protected the Dragon capsule as it pierced the earth's atmosphere. The technology was developed and tested in NASA Ames' arc-jet facility. It is called Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator, or PICA-X.
"We wouldn't be here without the help of NASA — the core technologies developed by NASA have made this day possible," Musk said after his company's first successful trip into space and back. "The performance of the heat shield was spectacular. In an exercise of caution, we designed the heat shield to not just handle Earth orbit re-entry, but to actually be able to handle a worst-case, off-nominal lunar and Mars re-entry, so it's an extremely capable heat shield and opens up a lot of possibilities."
The unmanned spacecraft delivered 1200 pounds of supplies to the international space station, which docked the unmanned spacecraft with a robotic arm.
"This successful splashdown and the many other achievements of this mission herald a new era in U.S. commercial spaceflight," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
Permanente Creek Trail extension
A public dedication ceremony for the Permanente Creek Trail bridge and tunnel is set for Tuesday, June 12, at 2 p.m. in a Google parking lot at 900 Alta Ave. in Mountain View.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrates the trail's extension over Highway 101 and tunnel under Old Middlefield Way to allow for more biking and walking through the area.
Another ceremony is set for June 23 when a new Stevens Creek Trail bridge opens, crossing Highway 85 near Sleeper Avenue to connect the trail to Heatherstone Way.
Directions to Tuesday's ribbon-cutting are on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition's website at http://bikesiliconvalley.org/event/2560. For more information on the ceremony,call the City of Mountain View Shoreline Division at 903-6392.
Lemonade for cancer research
A lemonade stand to raise funds for childhood cancer researchwill be held at Stanford Shopping Center on June 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The lemonade stand will be hosted by the Goeders family of Mountain View for the second year in a row, and manned by the family's son, Jacob, who has high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The stand is part of Lemonade Days, an annual three-day campaign created by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to encourage child cancer patients to raise money for cancer research and spread childhood cancer awareness.
Ten-year-old Jacob Goeders was diagnosed in December 2010, and will finish treatment at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in March of 2014. Last year, Jacob's first lemonade stand raised $2926.00 for cancer research. He hopes to exceed that goal this year and raise $3000.00. Nicknamed "The Leukemia Slayer," he spends his time donating to other child cancer patients, and has a Facebook page tracking his efforts.
Jacob's donation page can be found at alexslemonade.org/mypage/82464.