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WETA TV 26 Launches to NASA in February

“WETA All Access” Explores Local Space Center

Washington, D.C. — The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the subject of the next installment of a local series produced by WETA and broadcast on WETA TV 26, Kevin Harris, vice president and television station manager at WETA, announced today. "NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – WETA All Access," a 30-minute feature on the extraterrestrial and earthbound work of the pioneering space center premieres on Thursday, February 28, at 8 p.m., with a rebroadcast Friday, February 29 at 10:30 p.m., on WETA TV 26.

The new episode of the quarterly series marks the 10th recent local production by WETA TV 26, which develops programming that provides perspectives on the community through a neighborhood lens. “We’re literally aiming for the stars with this one,” said Harris. “This WETA All Access continues to show our Washington-area viewers the spectacular organizations in our community.”

"NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – WETA All Access" features an exclusive tour of the nearly 50-year-old space center, which has completed more than 240 missions to outer space and is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists and engineers dedicated to learning and sharing their knowledge of the Earth, solar system, and universe. The program covers the center’s major achievements in space flight, the ins and outs of a space mission, and the extensive and impressive team behind it all. This WETA All Access also looks at the major technology developed or maintained at the center, including the groundbreaking Hubble Space Telescope; the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the most powerful telescope in space, and through which mankind may see the birth of galaxies; and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will one day chart the surface of the moon, data intended to help plan man’s living on the moon. Mission preparation is explored as well, from the intensive technological checks, known to the NASA team as “shake-n-bake tests,” to the extreme precautions taken to protect the equipment — where testing is conducted in sterile outfits called “bunny suits” in rooms that are 1,000 times cleaner than hospital operating rooms.

This WETA All Access showcases a host of NASA employees, from astrophysicists and mechanical engineers to the geologists and oceanographers who are part of NASA’s vast group of earth scientists, and who examine everything from the solid and liquid earth to the atmosphere and oceans. Each relates in the program their passion for their work and their desire to inspire a future generation of NASA employees. Featured is senior astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory Dr. John C. Mather, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2006. The prize was awarded for the “discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation” — in layman’s terms, for proving the Big Bang Theory — as part of his work with Goddard’s COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) project. Interviewees also include center director Dr. Edward J. Weiler; NASA astronauts Scott Altman, John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino; and the head of Cryospheric Sciences, Waleed Abdalati.

"NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – WETA All Access" will be featured on the WETA media player, WETA Watch Online, at www.weta.org/watchonline. Featuring more than one hundred videos, WETA Watch Online includes the latest videos from WETA TV 26 local productions such as "WETA Hometown Heroes," "The WETA Guide" and "WETA Extras." The web area for the WETA All Access series at www.weta.org/tv/allaccess.php includes related community activities and the opportunity for the public to provide feedback and suggest topics for the series, as well as submit their own local photos. Visitors will also find links to other local programming, including WETA Neighborhoods.

Each episode of WETA All Access provides viewers a behind-the-scenes look at one Greater Washington business, institution, or event. Episodes of WETA All Access include "Metro," a 30-minute feature on the D.C. transit system; "The Aquarium," a 30-minute profile of the National Aquarium in Baltimore; "The FBI Academy," a 30-minute exploration of the rigorous FBI training program; and "Washington Nationals," an hour-long exploration of a Washington Nationals game day, from start to finish.

WETA TV 26 and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are public broadcasting stations serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational, cultural, and news and public affairs programming and related services. WETA is committed to producing programs that highlight the history and people of the Greater Washington area. WETA regularly produces WETA Neighborhoods, The WETA Guide, WETA Around Town, WETA Hometown Heroes and WETA Extras, spotlighting local people, places and events. WETA’s headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia. For more information on WETA and its services, visit www.weta.org. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA.

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