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Highlights Archive


Earth Science Division Highlights for week ending July 2, 2007

*Esperanza Fire incident cited as “science in action” before Congress .
Michael Freilich (Earth Science Division Director, SMD) presented an update on NASA's Earth Science program, June 28, on Capitol Hill to the House Science Committee. One of the topics he highlighted that received the most positive response was a report on our Wildfire Research and Analysis Project (WRAP) and our UAS overflight of the Esperanza Fire last October (PI: Vince Ambrosia, SGE/CSUMB).

The Esperanza overflight was conducted in response to a request from the California Office of Emergency Services to help fight the fire that claimed 5 firefighters' lives and destroyed several homes. The WRAP team, with NASA Dryden and General Atomics, ASI, received the call on a Friday afternoon, obtained an emergency Certificate of Authorization (COA), integrated the payload and launched the flight on the following Saturday afternoon. They conducted a 16-hour flight throughout the night. Using the Ames developed wildfire IR sensor, onboard processing and high speed satellite link module, combined with the Collaborative Decision Environment (CDE) software developed by Code TI with a Google Earth interface, the team provided real time fire front location data that was used by the California Department of Forestry (CDF) Emergency Command Center (EOC) to direct the "boots on the ground" to focus their fire fighting efforts.

The committee appreciated NASA's "science in action" - showing the societal benefit of NASA's Earth science program. (POC: Steve Hipskind, Steve.Hipskind@nasa.gov , 4-5076)



Robert Chatfield speaks at NASA Earth Science Applications workshop .
Bob Chatfield (SGG) gave a presentation, June 20, before the NASA Earth Science Applications workshop in Potomac, Maryland. His topic was the U.S. - Mexico Advanced Measurements Initiative Project that is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He reported on the abilities and limitations of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument and the Terrestrial Emissions Spectrometer, instruments that are onboard the Aura satellite. He represented Vance Fong of EPA Region 9, and other colleagues at JPL and Arizona State. (POC: Bob Chatfield, Robert.B.Chatfield@nasa.gov , 4-5490)


Freund elected member of EMSEV Working Group .
Friedemann Freund (SJSU/SETI) was elected a member of the (Electromagnetic Studies of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (EMSEV) working group. The EMSEV is part of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). Its main purpose is to promote collaboration between individuals and research groups across the different disciplines represented in the IUGG, on observations and research into electric and magnetic effects associated with earthquakes and volcanoes. (POC: Friedemann Freund, ffreund@mail.arc.nasa.gov , 4-5183)


Don Sullivan participates in OGC consortium .
Don Sullivan (SGE) supplied networking interfaces, geographic data and text for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)/NASA presentations at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) Architecture workshop, that were held June 18 in San Diego, CA. with Karl Benedict from the OGC.

The one day workshop focused on communications and sensors networks engineering and information transmission for the GEOSS, a complex system of sensors, communication devices, storage systems, computational and other devices used to observe the Earth and gather the data needed for a better understanding of the Earth's processes. Sullivan worked with Karl Benedict from the OGC in providing the necessary input for the consortium. (POC: Don Sullivan, dvsullivan@mail.arc.nasa.gov , 4-0526)


Earth Science Division learns about Autonomous Flight Control Research.
Matt Hancher and Corey Ippolito (Code TI) were the featured speakers at the latest Earth Science Seminar, June 28. Their group, the Adaptive Control and Evolvable Systems Group (ACES) develops advanced control technologies for everything from spacecraft to aircraft to ground robots. They provided an overview of their recent and current work, emphasizing the elements that are most applicable to airborne science operations, such as an aircraft flight controller capable of recovering from damages or faults, two small-scale autonomous research aircraft, a scheme for distributed control of multi-vehicle systems, and a flexible software platform for controlling autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. They sought advice on how to tailor these technologies and research programs to ensure that they will meet the needs of the next generation of airborne science missions. (POC: Warren Gore, Warren.Gore@nasa.gov , 4-5533).


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