NASA News: 2011 Awards Presented For Achievements In Earth Remote Sensing

WASHINGTON -- NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior presented
the 2011 William T. Pecora awards to Alan H. Strahler, professor of
geography and environment at Boston University, and to the Canada
Centre for Remote Sensing at a ceremony Tuesday in Herndon, Va.

Strahler was recognized for his contributions to remote-sensing
science, leadership and education, which have improved the
fundamental understanding of the remote-sensing process and its
applications for observing land surface properties. The Canada Centre
for Remote Sensing received the group award for outstanding
collaboration across national boundaries.

The awards were presented at the Pecora 18 Symposium by Michael
Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in the Science
Mission Directorate and Lori Caramanian, Department of the Interior's
deputy assistant secretary for water and science.

"Understanding of our home planet and predicting future global
environmental changes require both individual technical efforts and
worldwide collaborations," Freilich said. "This year's awards
acknowledge just how important sustained, decades-long efforts by
individuals and nations are to Earth science, and the benefits they
can bring to the world."

Strahler's early theoretical contributions in describing the
interactions of light with forest trees led to realistic and
quantifiable approaches employed today in many areas of remote
sensing. Strahler also advanced the field of image analysis by
developing new methods for incorporating spatial information. His
innovative methods for incorporating spatial information such as
size, shape, and texture in the interpretation of remotely sensed
image data were important in the coupling of remote sensing with
geographic information systems.

The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing was recognized for advancing the
understanding of Earth over a period of 40 years through the
development of important technologies and innovative applications.

The centre contributed substantially to the success of global
remote-sensing technology through partnerships with many different
groups, domestically and internationally. As a national
remote-sensing program, the centre served as a model for numerous
other countries where visiting scientists learned advanced
remote-sensing science and how to organize a national remote-sensing program.

NASA and the Department of the Interior present individual and group
Pecora Awards to honor outstanding contributions in the field of
remote sensing and its application to understanding Earth.

The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of William T.
Pecora, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and
undersecretary of the Department of the Interior. Pecora was
influential in the establishment of the Landsat satellite program,
which created a continuous, nearly 40-year record of Earth's land areas.

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NASA Hosting Science Update About Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a Science Update at 1 p.m. EST on
Wednesday, Nov. 16, to discuss new theories concerning Jupiter's icy
moon Europa. The event will be in NASA's James E. Webb Auditorium at
300 E St. SW in Washington.

NASA Television and the agency's website will broadcast the event
live. Reporters may attend the event or ask questions from
participating NASA centers or by phone. For dial-in information,
reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at: dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov with
their name, media affiliation and telephone number by noon Wednesday.

Europa, which is slightly smaller than Earth's moon, is thought to
have an iron core, a rocky mantle and an ocean of salty water beneath
its frozen surface.

Briefing participants are:
- Britney Schmidt, postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Geophysics,
University of Texas at Austin
- Tori Hoehler, astrobiologist and senior research scientist, NASA's
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
- Louise Prockter, planetary scientist, Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
- Tom Wagner, program scientist, cryospheric sciences, Earth Science
Division, NASA Headquarters

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


Nasa Sharing Underwater Training Facility With Petroleum Industry

HOUSTON -- Astronauts and oil field workers will share a training
facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston thanks to a new
agreement that takes advantage of excess capacity at the agency's
underwater training pool.

Raytheon Technical Services Co. of Dulles, Va., NASA's contractor for
operations at the Sonny Carter Training Facility Neutral Buoyancy
Laboratory (NBL) near Johnson, has signed an agreement to partner
with Petrofac Training Services in Houston.

Petrofac will use the NBL to provide survival training for offshore
oil and gas workers. NASA will continue training International Space
Station crews there for space walks. With the end of the Space
Shuttle Program and the completion of space station assembly, the
time required for NASA spacewalk training has decreased.

Oil field worker survival training is expected to begin in December.
The NBL will provide trainees with one of the most realistic
environments available to learn critical aspects of water survival.

The 202-foot-long, 102-foot-wide pool at the center of the NBL was
designed to support spacewalk planning and training using full-scale
mockups of the space shuttle and space station. While the 6.2
million-gallon, 40-foot-deep pool will continue to support NASA's
activities, a transparent 12-foot faux floor will be installed in
designated areas to support survival training.

In 2010, NASA selected the Raytheon team to manage and operate the
facility under the NBL/Space Vehicle Mockup Operations Contract. NASA
allowed Raytheon to use the facility when it is not being used for
agency activities. The partnership will efficiently use NBL resources
while combining the expertise and capability of Raytheon and Petrofac
to create a center of excellence for survival training.

The Raytheon team has managed operations at the facility since 2003.
The partnership initially will focus on three core survival courses
applicable to the worldwide oil and gas industry.

The core courses are helicopter underwater egress training; basic
offshore safety induction and emergency training; and further
offshore emergency training. The partnership also will expand into
the delivery of emergency response and crisis management training for
oil, gas and other industry sectors by using the NBL's on-site test
control rooms.

The announcement highlights NASA's efforts to find new and innovative
partnerships. By opening Johnson Space Center's facilities and
resources for use by non-aerospace industries, NASA hopes to find
areas of common interest where both parties can help each other
foster new technologies that not only improve life here on Earth, but
also pave the way for future human exploration in space. The NBL is
just one facility with the potential for use by outside industries
with special needs for design, development, testing, operations or
training, especially in extreme environments.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



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