Thursday January 7, 2010

The Final Hubble Mission

A mission specialist on the space shuttle's final visit to the Hubble Space Telescope will visit the University of Dayton next week to discuss the shuttle mission and how she became an astronaut.

K. Megan McArthur, mission specialist on the space shuttle that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope last May will deliver a talk on "Hubble Space Telescope: The Final Servicing Mission," at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at the University of Dayton's Jesse Philips Humanities Center, Sears Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public.

"Students often have big dreams and lofty goals they pursue after graduation that are sometimes difficult to attain," said Robert Kearns, biology professor and director of the University's premedical program, and McArthur's uncle. "But Megan is proof that if you work hard and stick with your dreams, there is no limit to what you can accomplish."

Prior to her public address, McArthur is scheduled to speak with a number of student groups on campus including science classes, students in the Women in Engineering program and area high schools.

The daughter of a U.S. Navy pilot, McArthur received her bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from UCLA and her Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California San Diego. NASA selected her as a mission specialist in the space shuttle program in 2000.

She logged almost 13 days in space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis last May for the program's fifth and final mission to service the Hubble telescope. The 19-year-old telescope spent six days in the shuttle's cargo bay undergoing an overhaul conducted by four spacewalkers during five daily spacewalks. From inside the Atlantis, McArthur operated the robotic arm used to dock with the telescope, maneuver parts and tools and assist the spacewalkers. The refurbished Hubble Telescope now has four new or rejuvenated scientific instruments, new batteries, new gyroscopes and a new computer.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.