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Public Invited to Community Day for NASA's Desert RATS Test

NASA LOGO / NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA)HOUSTON, Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For years, NASA’s Desert RATS – or Research And Technology Studies – team has been trekking to the Flagstaff, Ariz., area for its annual tests. This year the public can come see what they have been up to.

Students and space fans young and old are invited to the Desert RATS Community Day from 1 – 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. It will be held at this year’s Desert RATS test site, located 40 miles north ofFlagstaff on U.S. Highway 89, less than one mile past the 454-mile marker, on the right.

Desert RATS is one of several analog tests that NASA uses to try out new hardware and ideas for future use in space exploration. The 2011 Desert RATS test is simulating a mission to an asteroid using prototype rovers (called Space Exploration Vehicles), habitat mockups (the Deep Space Habitat) and a humanoid robot identical to the one currently living on board the International Space Station (Robonaut 2 on a four-wheeled base). Astronauts and geologists are teaming up to try out different methods for exploration, and a team of mission and science operation personnel is monitoring the test from the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

During the Community Day, attendees will be able to get an up-close look at the hardware being tested and talk with NASA scientists, engineers, technicians and astronauts about their work.

For more information on the Desert RATS tests, visit:

http:// www.nasa.gov/desertrats

Follow the progress of the tests via Twitter at:

http:// www.twitter.com/desert_rats

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