People worldwide will be able to use the Internet to interact live with scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, about the upcoming Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

Scheduled for launch on Jan. 31 on Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-99, the radar topography mission is designed to map up to 80 percent of the Earth's landmass during the 11-day mission. The area to be mapped is home to about 95 percent of the world's population. The three Shuttle Radar Topography Mission webcasts and webchats are scheduled for Jan. 21, Feb. 9 and Feb. 28, at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. Eastern time).

"During three special Internet opportunities, audiences will be given the chance to interact live with JPL scientists, engineers, technicians and administrators from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission project, before, during and after the mission." said Linda Conrad of the NASA Quest Project, NASA Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, CA.

The mission will use an advanced radar technique to acquire data to produce the most precise, near-global, topographic map ever.

The radar topography mission Internet events will include webchats and webcasts, during which panelists will discuss a variety of topics about the project, including some of the technological challenges that are involved in this complex mission. Webcasts enable the Internet audience to watch live video, hear the discussions and interact in real- time with experts participating in the mission.

The team members scheduled to appear during the January 21 event include: Jennifer Cruz, system engineer for the ground data processing system; JPL radar interferometry experts Drs. Gilles Peltzer and Eric Rignot; image processing expert and member of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission real-time science team Dr. Robert Crippen; Shuttle Radar Topography Mission project secretary Debra Higuera; and the project's education outreach coordinator, Annie Richardson.

A complete schedule of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Quest events can be found at

NASA Quest webcasts also provide opportunities for educators from all over the world to bring Earth science content to the classroom through Internet technology. Webcasts are just one of many Internet offerings from NASA Quest. Other online, interactive projects connect students with NASA employees and are designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in high technology.

Educators can reach NASA Quest's Learning Technologies Channel on the Internet at NASA's Quest Project is based at NASA Ames, Silicon Valley, CA.

Co-producing the live Shuttle Radar Topography Mission webchats and webcasts in conjunction with NASA Quest, is at , making it possible for audiences worldwide to participate in Internet events. Also supporting the live events is the JPL Design Hub, a facility where new spacecraft are designed on the drawing boards of computer screens and special wall-mounted computerized whiteboards. The Design Hub provides engineers a collaborative design, common electronic database analysis and manufacturing processing environment.

For further information on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, visit the JPL project web site at JPL manages the radar mission for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

News Media Contact

John Bluck, NASA Ames Research Center (650) 604-5026

Mary Hardin, JPL, (818) 354-5011