Why Is NASA Building This Giant Soccer Ball?

Why Is NASA Building This Giant Soccer Ball?

Image Cache: Because it has a goal! But a different kind of goal to the ones found in soccer: instead, it's one to put American astronauts on Mars. Browse through the cool photos, animations and diagrams in Gizmodo's Image Cache here.

This bright white ball — a radome, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida — is one of the numerous steps in the ground systems development crucial to achieving that aim. In the photo above you can see technicians building the orb, which is a weatherproof protective enclosure for a new S-band antenna (the thing on the left) which was designed to provide complex tracking capability following lift-off of the agency's Space Launch System rocket. When it's finished, it will combine voice, television, telemetry, command, tracking and ranging into a single system. Clever.

Why Is NASA Building This Giant Soccer Ball?
Why Is NASA Building This Giant Soccer Ball?

Photos: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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