NASA – Backdropped by a cloud-covered part of Earth, space shuttle Discovery is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member as the shuttle approaches the International Space Station during STS-133 rendezvous and docking operations. Docking occurred at 2:14 p.m. EST on Feb. 26, 2011.
Discovery Approaching Space Station
The Expedition 26 crew photographed the aft portion of Discovery’s main engines, part of the cargo bay, vertical stabilizer and orbital maneuvering system pods during a survey of the vehicle’s approach prior to its docking with the International Space Station. As part of the survey and part of every mission’s activities, Discovery performed a back-flip for the rendezvous pitch maneuver. The image was photographed with a digital still camera, using a 400mm lens at a distance of about 600 feet (180 meters).
Discovery’s Final Flip
This view of the nose, the forward underside and crew cabin of the space shuttle Discovery was provided by an Expedition 26 crew member during a survey of the approaching STS-133 vehicle prior to docking with the International Space Station. As part of the survey and part of every mission’s activities, Discovery performed a back-flip for the rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM). The image was photographed with a digital still camera, using a 400mm lens at a distance of about 600 feet.
Image Credit: NASA
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By Doug Smock – A report by the American Physical Society (APS) and the Materials Research Society (MRS) urge the federal government to secure future supplies of rare earths and other elements, as efforts to develop new energy technologies intensify and China starts to control supplies of many critical elements.
A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado [the Critical Minerals and Materials Promotion Act of 2011, (S.383)] makes recommendations similar to those found in the report.
Critical elements include
- Helium liquefies at the lowest temperature of all elements and does not solidify, making it important for cryogenic applications.
- Gallium, germanium, indium, selenium, silver and tellurium are employed in advanced photovoltaic solar cells, especially thin-film photovoltaics.
- Dysprosium, neodymium, praseodymium, samarium and cobalt are used in high-strength permanent magnets for many energy-related applications, such as wind turbines and hybrid automobiles.
- Gadolinium for its unusual paramagnetic qualities and europium and terbium for their role in managing the color of fluorescent lighting. Yttrium is an important ingredient in energy-efficient solid-state lighting and lasers.
- Lithium and lanthanum: Used in high performance batteries.
- Platinum and palladium used as catalysts in fuel cells. Cerium is also used as an auto-emissions catalyst.
- Rhenium, used in high performance alloys for advanced turbines.