NASA news events at the American Geophysical Union meeting

December 02, 2005

NASA researchers will present findings on a variety of Earth and space science topics at the 2005 Annual Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. This meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec. 9 at the Moscone Convention Center West, 800 Howard Street, San Francisco, Calif. All news conferences will be held in the press briefing room on level 2, room 2012 at the Moscone West. Reporters may call the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory media relations telephone number at 818-354-5011 to obtain the press conference telecom numbers, to listen in and ask questions from remote locations.

The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS), which is on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, is the first radar instrument looking below the surface of Mars. The instrument was designed to search for subsurface layers containing frozen or liquid water and to examine the upper region of Mars' atmosphere. Results from the radar and from other instruments on Mars Express are adding to a wealth of new information about past and present conditions on Mars. TIME: Mon. Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. EST (12 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSION: P13C For the MARSIS homepage, visit:

In late November and early December, NASA's surprisingly long-lived rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are completing a full Martian year of work on the surface of Mars. The adventure continues more than 22 months into what was originally planned as a three-month mission. Recently, Opportunity reached exposures of water-altered bedrock with intriguing differences from the stack of layers it examined inside a crater last year. Spirit is hurrying downhill to investigate a platform-like feature before Martian winter sets in, but keeps finding surprises along the way. Researchers are still struggling to decipher the ancient environmental history of Spirit's vicinity from an increasingly diverse set of clues. TIME: Mon., Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. EST (1 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: P11D, P11E and P12A For more information on the Mars Rovers:

Scientists have identified large, global-scale disturbances that form in Earth's upper atmosphere during space storms that disrupt the signals we use to communicate, navigate and monitor our borders. Although these disturbances had previously been observed locally and sporadically, a new view combining ground and space observations provides an unprecedented global perspective that allows scientists to see the structures in their entirety and understand how and why they evolve with time. This global view has been accomplished with measurements developed and operated for NASA and the National Science Foundation. TIME: Mon. Dec. 5, 2005 at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSION: SA11A For images:

Twenty years after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, it now appears that its recovery may take longer than predicted. This briefing takes a look at ozone depletion over both poles and presents new results on the surprisingly high levels of ozone-destroying halocarbons still being released in the United States and Canada. NASA scientists provide an overview of the 2005 ozone layer record and report on new satellite observations of the high levels of ozone-destroying chlorine in the stratosphere over both poles that are declining very slowly. There will also be new projections from NOAA of when the ozone hole may fully recover and some surprising differences between how recovery will occur in the Arctic versus the Antarctic. TIME: Tues. Dec. 6 at 12 p.m. EST (9 a.m. PST) RELATED SESSION: A13D For Images:

The remarkable Cassini mission has captured new views and information on young, old and oddball moons during the first year of a whirlwind tour of the Saturn system. Scientists will present the latest findings and images from Cassini, including breathtaking views and a deluge of data from these icy orbs during more than a dozen targeted flybys. Among the discoveries is the moon Enceladus has an atmosphere, which appears to be contributing particles to Saturn's massive E-ring. Another discovery includes a long, narrow ridge that lies almost exactly on the equator of the moon Iapetus. In places, the ridge is approximately three times the height of Mount Everest. TIME: Tues. Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. EST (12 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: P11B, P21F, P22A and P32A For more information on Cassini:

From the shrinking Arctic sea ice to retreating glaciers and collapsing Antarctic ice shelves, the cryosphere is an important and ongoing news story. NASA satellites captured these snow and ice changes worldwide to help scientists figure out what is happening. A unique global view of all of these scientific issues is presented in the new NASA video, which is being released at this meeting. The video tour takes you around the world to see what is happening through state-of-the-art animations of the latest satellite data. NASA scientist Waleed Abdalati and television producer Michael Starobin will answer questions about new cryosphere research and how the visualizations can be used to illustrate the science. TIME: Tues., Dec. 6 and Thurs., Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSION: C33A, C34A, C51B For images:

Three and a half years into its primary mission to map Earth's changing gravity field with unsurpassed precision, NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is changing our views on gravity and how variability in Earth's mass affects the balance of Earth's natural systems. This briefing presents an overview of mission status and research efforts; detailing three areas: 1) GRACE observations of how the Great Sumatra earthquake of Dec. 26, 2004, affected Earth's gravity field and how that data may shed new light on earthquake physics and mechanisms; 2) A recap of ice mass change measurements for Greenland, the only direct measurements currently available of ice mass; and 3) An overview of results to date on the seasonal transport variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the strongest current system in the world, which links the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific basins and significantly influences global climate. TIME: Tues. Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. EST (3 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: G22A, G23A, G24A, G33A, G33B, G33C, H11G, IN 22A, SA41A For more information about GRACE, visit:

NASA is launching two satellites that will answer questions about how clouds and aerosols form, evolve and affect water supply, climate, weather and air quality. This is a 45 minute workshop that will feature scientists who will provide the background science of clouds and aerosols with a new, 3-D perspective. Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University will present the science of clouds and climate, and Charles Trepte of NASA's Langley Research Center will present basics on aerosols and climate. TIME: Wed. Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: A23A, ED31D For more information on the workshop, visit: For more information about CALIPSO, visit: For more information about CloudSat, visit:

Changes to glaciers and ice sheets have become an almost worldwide phenomenon. Such changes can be particularly large where the ice from glaciers or ice sheets hit the sea. This session emphasizes these large changes in glaciers or ice sheets in Alaska, Greenland and the Antarctica. The ice break-up in these cases far exceeds what is possible due to surface melting alone. This raises questions about the stability of glaciers and ice sheets. TIME: Wed., Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. EST (3 p.m. PST) RELATED SESSION: C41A

When the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) launches in Spring 2006, scientists expect to gain a better understanding of space weather and improve warning time for the massive solar storms that could harm astronauts, satellites, communication systems and electric power grids. The two STEREO spacecraft will image the sun and its explosions in high definition 3-D for the first time. Our current two-dimensional view makes it hard to predict which direction the events are heading. In this Writer's Workshop you will learn all about space weather and STEREO's 3-D mission and be able to ask the experts questions on the latest advances in the field. TIME: Thurs. Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: ED31D, SH11B, SH23B For more information about STEREO, visit:

Local and regional air pollution and their sources can now be closely watched from space. Researchers using the latest data from NASA's Aura satellite report on detailed tracking of important pollutants such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide. In addition, the first global observations of ice in clouds by Aura are shown to be important in reducing uncertainties in predictions of future climate change. The role of these new tools for air quality and climate forecasts will be discussed. TIME: Thurs., Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) RELATED SESSIONS: A13D, A41A, A41B, A43E, A44C, A53C, A54B For images related to this session, visit: For more information about Aura, visit:
For more information about the American Geophysical Union 2005 Joint Assembly Meeting, on the Web, visit:

For more information about other NASA presentations at the AGU meeting, on the Web, please visit:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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