model of Earth gravity
A Grace gravity model, showing Europe and Africa. Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Texas Center for Space Research.
SAN FRANCISCO - A mission that has changed the way we study Earth's gravitational forces has been recognized with a prestigious award for helping scientists better understand our home planet. NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior presented the coveted William T. Pecora Award to the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) mission team.

The two agencies present individual and group Pecora Awards annually 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 under secretary of the Department of the Interior.

The Grace mission uses twin satellites to make precise gravity-field measurements to study changes on Earth. Signal achievements include the first uniform measurement of Greenland and Antarctic ice mass changes and monthly estimates of water accumulation in the world's river basins.

"We congratulate the Grace team for its great achievements, which are testaments to the leadership, vision and creativity of each team member," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Stern presented the award to the Grace team Monday, Dec. 10, at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco. Jim Devine, senior advisor for science applications at the U.S. Geological Survey, represented the Department of the Interior at the award presentation.

Grace is a collaborative endeavor involving the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the German Space Agency and Germany's National Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam.

More information on the Grace mission is online at . For information about NASA and agency programs, visit .

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