NASA wants your help in naming a new space station module that boasts a room with a view.
Individuals can vote to name the International Space Station?s new Node 3 module via an online ballot, choosing from one of four NASA suggestions such as Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity or Venture. Creative types may also write in a name, although such an entrant would likely represent a dark horse in the race. The Node 3 name polls close on March 20.
Node 3 includes a cupola essentially an observation deck attached to module which offers astronauts unparalleled sights of both Earth and space. The cupola's six windows also provide excellent working views for anyone manning the robotics work station that controls the International Space Station's 57-foot robotic arm.
The new station room is slated to launch toward the space station aboard a NASA shuttle in late 2009.
Node 3?s main body contains eight refrigerator-sized racks meant to provide room for many of the station's life support systems. After installation, the crew would transfer over many systems to the module, such as those responsible for oxygen generation and water recovery. The astronaut washroom would also likely find a home in the new space station room.
NASA?s call for Node 3 names is only the second time the agency has solicited outside help in naming a piece of U.S. space station hardware. People in search of inspiration can always look to past module names, unless they want to go above and beyond the 2,200 students who participated in NASA's Node 2 Challenge.
"The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station and follow in the tradition set by Node 1, named 'Unity,' and Node 2, named 'Harmony,'" says NASA's Web site.
A winning name will be announced at the Node 3 unveiling April 28 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Even people whose favorite Node 3 name loses out can look forward to more spectacular astronaut photography from the new vantage point inside the cupola. Or they might consider stepping into the role of a robotic arm operator in NASA's upcoming online multiplayer game.
Click here to cast your vote at NASA?s Node 3 Web site through March 20.
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