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Earth Science Division Highlights for June 21, 2013

Sustainable Silicon Valley and NASA Ames host WEST summit

NASA Ames partnered with Sustainable Silicon Valley to host the 2013 WEST (Water Energy Smart Technology) Summit on 23 May 2013 at the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field. The summit brought together leaders from government, academia and the private sector to discuss and showcase scalable, game-changing solutions for addressing global sustainability. The first panel established the scientific basis for the scope of the challenges facing humanity. The panel included Waleed Abdalati (CU), Jim Hansen (Columbia), Anthony Barnosky (Berkeley) and Banny Banerjee (Stanford). California Governor Jerry Brown attended the first panel and in a formal ceremony immediately following the panel, received the Scientific Consensus Statement entitled Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century from Barnosky and colleagues. Photos and media coverage information can be found at

The WEST Summit provided an opportunity for NASA to discuss and showcase its research and technology as it pertains to sustainability of planet Earth. Included were discussions of Ames' green building, Sustainability Base, the importance of NASA Earth observations and Earth system science with a specific example how NASA's Earth science research is directly impacting agricultural irrigation efficiency in California's central valley, and how NASA's work in life support systems for space can inform life support systems on Earth.

NASA Ames provides updates to HQ on wildfires in Colorado

Vince Ambrosia (ARC-CREST and SGE) responded to a call from Mike Freilich, Earth Science Director, NASA HQ, for daily updates on the wildfires in Colorado with viewgraphs and images from the US Forest Service showing how NASA instruments and communications systems were in play as part of the fire response. Lawrence Friedl, program director for applied sciences, NASA HQ, noted his appreciation for the help from Vince during the monthly telecon between the Applied Sciences Program and the NASA centers on Monday, June 17. Friedl also noted that NASA responded to requests for help during 18 disaster events in 2012, and that there was substantial interest in wildfires at HQ this summer. Friedl and Frank Lindsay (Program Manager for Disasters) will present to Freilich later this week a draft plan for organizing NASA’s response to requests for assistance during disaster emergencies. The draft plan received input from Ambrosia and others at Ames over the last two years of its development.

AJAX begins Railroad Valley 2013 mission

The Alpha Jet Airborne Experiment (AJAX) participated in the Railroad Valley data acquisition mission this week to obtain CO2 observations in support of satellite observations from the GOSAT satellite. As of this writing, AJAX completed data flights on Monday and Tuesday, June 17 and 18, with two more flights planned for Thursday and Friday. The flight Thursday will be for first time the MMS (Meteorological Measurement System) will be flown on the Alpha Jet after completing system integration and receiving an airworthiness certificate. The data from MMS will improve the scientific utility of the CO2 and CH4 observations from the Picarro instrument on the Alpha Jet.

AJAX receives approval to fly missions over Dryden/Edwards AFB

Dr. Laura Iraci leads a project at Ames to use a Fourier Transform Spectrometer assembled at JPL for the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) to assist with calibration and validation of CO2 observations obtained from the OCO2 mission scheduled for launch in 2014. As part of that project, the TCCON instrument (now housed in a trailer at JPL) will be transferred to, and operated at, Dryden Flight Research Center. The transfer will occur at the end of June, and TCCON should be operable at Dryden by mid-July. The AJAX project would like to obtain column CO2 observations above the TCCON instrument as part of the cal/val process. The week of June 6, Ken Ambrose (H211) flew the Alpha Jet to Dryden to discuss with flight operations personnel the requirements for flying over the TCCON and to obtain clearance for such flights. The meeting at Dryden was successful. ARC now has a point of contact at Dryden to assist with scheduling the flights and securing clearance to fly in the Dryden airspace.

4STAR instrument acquires data on NASA DC-8 during SARP mission

The Sky-scanning, Sun-tracking Sun Photometer for Atmospheric Research (4STAR) successfully acquired data on a mission flown by the NASA DC-8 from Palmdale, CA during the Student Atmospheric Research Program (SARP). 4STAR is the latest in a series of instruments from Ames for sun photometry - critical observations for analysis of atmospheric aerosols. The flights marked the first time 4STAR was flown on a NASA platform and provided ARC scientists with information on 4STAR's performance in preparation for data acquisition during the SEAC4RS missions later this summer. The SARP mission provided an opportunity to test 4STAR, but 4STAR was not partr of the SARP program.

ESPO personnel prepare for summer deployments

Managers in the Earth Science Projects Office prepared this week for deployments to Dryden, Wallops and Houston. Bernie Luna is now at Dryden for the HS3 mission. Development of the Global Hawk East mission control center at Wallops is moving ahead and is on schedule for use during the HS3 mission later this summer. Don Sullivan, SGE, is at Wallops this week completing integration and testing of the communications system. Integration of science instruments on the platforms for SEAC4RS will begin early in July. Six platforms (5 NASA, 1 contracted) will be part of SEAC4RS – the DC-8, ER-2, Falcon (Langley) P-3 and B-200. Deployment to Houston is scheduled for August.

ARC scientist invited to Commonwealth Club

Dr. Lynn Rothschild received an invitation to give a lecture to the Commonwealth Club in the fall. She will share the dais with Dr. Richard Zare (Stanford) and will likely talk about astrobiology. Lynn was also asked to be a speaker at the Toronto Science Festival in September and speak on a panel addressing the topic of life in extreme environments.

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