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Shuttle EVA trumps NEAR landing attempt
Posted: Mon, Feb 12, 2001, 12:34 PM ET (1734 GMT)
NEAR Shoemaker It appears that NASA believes that a relatively routine shuttle EVA is more important that the first attempt to land a spacecraft on the surface of an asteroid, based on the coverage the agency is providing to each event today. The spacewalk by Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones to work on the exterior of the new Destiny module is being covered live by NASA TV, preempting coverage of NEAR's descent to the surface of Eros, taking place at the same time. Video of NEAR activities has been shifted to a second satellite that most casual NASA TV viewers don't have access to; fortunately, web sites like Spaceflight Now and offer live webcasts of the secondary feed. (That secondary feed will also be needed Wednesday, as the scheduled post-landing press conference will also be preempted on NASA TV by the third STS-98 EVA.) To make matters worse, those attempting to check the official NEAR web site are being greeted with "cannot find server" messages as the site is presumably overloaded or otherwise inaccessible. While this certainly wasn't the agency's intent, NASA's devotion to the shuttle and ISS is making it difficult for people to learn more about what is arguably a more important, interesting event than a spacewalk.
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