The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 22, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day began in 1970 as a series of environmental "teachins" on college campuses. The event helped create the modern environmental movement and gave rise to the first environmental legislation for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Today nearly 25 percent of the work being done at JPL is in support of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth -- a global-scale examination of Earth using space-based remote sensing techniques.
"At JPL, we have an aggressive and well-rounded program of Earth-related instruments, missions, related technologies and scientific studies," said Mike Sander, deputy director of JPL's Space and Earth Science Programs Directorate. "In addition, we have a highly respected community of scientists specializing in Earth observations working here.
"JPL is a major contributor to the Earth Observing System (EOS) program in the form of the many instruments we are building for the various EOS satellites," Sander continued. "We are the home of one of the distributed archives for EOS data. We have built and flown a number of major Earth- observing instruments on the space shuttle and are considered a key technology center for spaceborne radar and its applications. Moreover, JPL is the project center for the ongoing TOPEX/Poseidon mission, the highly successful ocean-observing satellite."
The use of remote sensing techniques in the study of the home planet will increase in the years ahead.
"The future NASA Earth missions seek to capitalize on the new wave of smaller, very technically advanced satellites and instruments, an approach which is a very natural match to JPL's planetary program," Sander said.
During JPL's Earth Day celebration, scientists from several of the Laboratory's Earth- related missions will be on hand to discuss and demonstrate how they are studying Earth with the same sophisticated equipment they have used to explore space.
The public will have a chance to look at the current and future plans for JPL's Earth- observing missions at the Earth Day celebration: Members of the TOPEX/Poseidon team will talk about how the TOPEX satellite monitors El Nio and other features in the ocean that influence the world's climate. Scientists from the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C mission will show off three-dimensional videos of volcanoes, as well as other radar views of Earth taken during their 1994 shuttle flights. Geologists using the Global Positioning System satellites will demonstrate how they use GPS monitors to study earthquakes. Several of the instruments being built for the Earth Observing System will be on display. Computers will be set up so that the public can access various Earth-related Internet sites.
JPL is located at 4800 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena.
The Laboratory's Earth-observing missions are sponsored by NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth.
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