Wed, Dec 13, 2006
Violent Solar Storm Causes Radiation Concerns With Agency
A violent solar explosion late Tuesday caused enough concern at
NASA the agency directed the crews of Expedition 14 and visiting
shuttle Discovery to move to the most shielded areas of the ISS, on
concerns of harmful radiation.
Tuesday night's solar flare was powerful enough to disrupt
terrestrial and orbital radio communications. NASA doctors and
scientists determined the burst contained enough high-energy
particles to warrant action by the crew.
Mission control directed station commander Michael Lopez-Alegria
and shuttle commander Mark Polansky to move all personnel in the
station to sheltered areas on the station or aboard Discovery.
Today, Discovery's crew was to rewire the US side of the ISS
electrical system to run from solar power. Part of that procedure
involves retracting an older solar panel to allow a new array
erected in September to rotate and remain oriented to the Sun. The
older panel would interfere with the new array's motion.
NASA is unsure of just how far the older panel will retract on
its own, but it must retract at least 40% to clear the new array.
If it doesn't move far enough, astronauts will have to go out and
coax it with power tools, or it must be jettisoned.
There is no word as of yet from NASA on whether Tuesday night's
solar eruption will interfere with today's planned activities.
Keep checking with ANN for updates on the ISS mission.
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