Endeavour will set out to map the Earth this week.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Endeavour Will Map the Earth
News story originally written on January 31, 2000

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to begin its mission today! The shuttle and crew will orbit Earth to make a detailed map of the planet. Over 80% of the planet's surface will be mapped, making this the first time a world map will be made from the same data. The shuttle was scheduled to launch at 12:47 ET.

NASA has had trouble getting this mission going. It was first scheduled for September, but faulty wiring delayed the mission until now. Last week there were more complications, this time with fuel pump seals. One of the seals was faulty, but it still made it through inspection and onto the shuttle's engine. After replacing the seal, scientists say the shuttle is ready for launch.

"We're not launching with a problem," a NASA official said. "We're launching with what was a potential problem that we have cleared and is no issue."

The mission will use special radar equipment to penetrate through clouds. We currently have a better map of Venus than Earth, because intense cloud cover shields the surface. Weather will no longer be a factor.

"It's been suggested this data set will be used by more people on earth than all the data NASA's ever collected," said Howard Eisen of the Radar Mapping Team.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA