WASHINGTON -- NASA researchers will discuss a wide range of scientific and space exploration topics at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The meeting takes place Feb. 17-21 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW, Washington.
Media registration is open on site at the AAAS Newsroom Headquarters, Convention Center Room 204A. For registration information, call 202-249-4004. NASA scientists and their colleagues who use NASA research capabilities will discuss:
Parks from Space: The Big Picture and New Initiatives Help Manage Protected Areas
Gary Geller, deputy manager, NASA Ecological Forecasting Program, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Friday, Feb. 18, 8 a.m., Convention Center Room 159AB.
Managers of parks around the world have access to new tools that use remote-sensing data from satellites and aircraft to address challenges they are facing from ecological stresses such as climate change. This talk highlights two new initiatives designed to allow managers to more easily solve problems and make more informed decisions.
Climatic Effects of Regional Nuclear War
Luke Oman, research physical scientist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Friday, Feb. 18, 8:30 a.m., Convention Center Room 145B.
Scientists using climate models estimate that a hypothetical war between emerging third-world nuclear powers would significantly cool the planet and decrease precipitation for years. The impact on global climate would not, however, be as severe as those from "nuclear winter" scenarios involving a massive nuclear exchange between superpowers.
Science in Space: Five Agencies Operating in Zero Gravity
Sunita Williams, astronaut, NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston
Friday, Feb. 18, 3:30 p.m., Convention Center Room 145A.
Williams talks about international science programs from the perspective of spending more than 195 days aboard the International Space Station, where she worked on several science experiments from the many international partners who contribute to the orbiting laboratory.
Kepler: Looking for Other Earths
William J. Borucki, Kepler principal investigator, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Martin D. Still, director, Kepler Guest Observer Program, NASA's Ames Research Center
Saturday, Feb. 19, 8:30 a.m., Convention Center Room 146C.
Kepler is NASA's first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water can exist on the surface of a planet. This talk highlights new discoveries and the accomplishments of the Kepler Guest Observer Program.
Between Sound Bites and the Scientific Paper: Communicating in the Hinterland
Gavin Schmidt, climatologist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York
Saturday, Feb. 19, 9 a.m., Convention Center Room 147A.
A tiny fraction of climate change scientists contribute to the public debate on climate change, leaving the discussion largely in the hands of non-experts. This talk asks why this occurs, what it means for a fuller public understanding of climate science, and what the scientific community might do to encourage more involvement in the public discourse.
Greatest Hits and Grand Challenges in Astrobiology
Michael Meyer, lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program, NASA Headquarters
Saturday, Feb. 19, 3 p.m., Convention Center 146C.
Recent findings in astrobiology have helped clarify our thinking in the search for extraterrestrial life. This talk discusses major results and the leading questions driving the search for evidence of life on Mars and other solar system bodies. The astrobiology investigations on the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission also will be presented.
Preserving the Planets, Ours and Others: Planetary Protection in Space Exploration
Cassie Conley, planetary protection officer, NASA Headquarters
Saturday, Feb. 19, 3:30 p.m., Convention Center Room 146C.
NASA's Planetary Protection Officer explains the importance of preventing harmful contamination of other planetary bodies and adverse changes in the Earth's environment because of returned material from space in accord with international agreements.
Exploring the Planet Mercury: The MESSENGER mission
Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington
Sunday, Feb. 20, 12 p.m., Convention Center Room 207A.
NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft is the first space probe to visit Mercury in more than 30 years. This topical lecture will present what has been learned from the mission's two flybys and the mission's upcoming observations from orbiting around the planet.
Limiting Near-Term Climate Change While Improving Human Well-Being
Drew Shindell, climatologist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Sunday, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m., Convention Center Room 101.
Emissions control measures using existing technology or behavioral changes could substantially mitigate near-term global warming, increase food supplies and reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution. This talk outlines the measures contained in a new United Nations Environmental Program assessment.
International Discoveries of Exoplanets
Wesley A. Traub, chief scientist, NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Sunday, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m., Convention Center Room 147A.
With more than 1,000 exoplanets on the books, we now have glimpses of worlds where nature is showing off its ability to make possible the impossible. This talk discusses ongoing international discoveries and future space missions that will expand our ability to detect and characterize exoplanets.
Impacts of Black Carbon Pollution on Himalayan Glaciers
Teppei Yasunari, research associate, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Sunday, Feb. 20, 2 p.m., Convention Center Room 101.
Solar radiation absorbed by black carbon can lead to increased melting rates of some Himalayan glaciers. It is not clear how much black carbon is reaching these glacier surfaces. This talk discusses efforts to improve Himalayan black carbon observations.
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