MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 2, 1999
NASA WILL STUDY IDEAS TO TRANSFORM EARTH OBSERVATIONS
NASA's New Millennium program has selected four concepts for
further study as candidates for its Earth Observing 3 (EO-3)
mission, technologies that could revolutionize space-based Earth
observations, according to Dr. Ghassem Asrar, NASA's Associate
Administrator for Earth Science. Each concept is designed to
test innovative approaches for observing Earth's surface and
atmosphere from positions outside low-Earth orbits, with an
emphasis on advanced measurement technologies.
The primary goal of the New Millennium program is to
identify, develop and validate key instrument and spacecraft
technologies that can lower cost and increase performance of
science missions in the 21st century.
"The technologies under consideration for these missions
will revolutionize space-based Earth observations, due to their
unique spatial, spectral and temporal characteristics, and
capture aspects not previously possible of the Earth's dynamic
atmosphere," said Asrar.
The selected concepts are:
These concepts were selected from 24 proposals submitted in
response to a NASA Research Announcement released in September
1997. The selection process included evaluations of each
proposal by external science and technology peer reviewers, along
with two panel sessions with leading NASA scientists and
technologists to categorize each proposal.
Active large aperture optical systems to provide high
resolution thermal imaging from geosynchronous orbit, proposed by
Del Jenstrom, manager of Advanced Geosynchronous Studies at
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, which will
lead this study.
Geostationary synthetic aperture microwave sounder, proposed
by Dr. Bjorn Lambrigtsen, a senior member of the technical staff
in the Earth and Planetary Atmospheres Research Element at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, which will lead this
Geostationary imaging Fourier transforming spectrometer,
proposed by Dr. William L. Smith, chief of the Atmospheric
Science Division at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA,
which will lead the study.
Geostationary tropospheric trace-gas imager, proposed by Dr.
Jack Fishman, a member of the Atmospheric Science Division of the
Langley Research Center. Dr. Fishman will work with Dr. James F.
Gleason, a member of the Laboratory of Atmospheres at Goddard,
with Langley leading the study.
Each of the concept providers is responsible for forming a
team to conduct a six-month study effort, at the end of which
they will each produce peer-reviewed study reports. At least one
will be selected by the Office of Earth Science to enter the full
implementation phase. Final selection is targeted for September
The first New Millennium program Earth-orbiting mission,
(EO-1), is scheduled for launch in December 1999. It will
demonstrate an advanced land imager system and hyperspectral
imaging technologies that may eventually replace the current
measurement approach used by Landsat satellites. Further
information about EO-1 is available at URL:
Earth Observing-2 will fly an infrared laser in the cargo
bay of the Space Shuttle to demonstrate the capabilities of a
space-based lidar to accurately measure atmospheric winds from
the Earth's surface to a height of about ten miles. This flight
is scheduled for launch in early 2001. Details are available at
The New Millennium program is managed by NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, for NASA's Office of Space Science and
Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. Further information
about the New Millennium program is available at URL:
JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, CA.