Sciences and Exploration Directorate (600) Local News Archive

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Earth Month at Goddard Begins April 1

03/26/2021
Photo of Jim Irons and Gavin SchmidtBeginning April 1, the Goddard Earth Sciences Division will host Earth Month at Goddard – a series of events throughout April featuring some of the center’s world-renowned experts in Earth science.

The first event will feature Earth Sciences Director Dr. James R. Irons and Goddard Institute for Space Studies Chief Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt on Thursday, April 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET as they present “Don’t forget the science! NASA’s contributions to climate policy.”

Schmidt Heard on Science Friday

02/26/2021
Gavin Schmidt (611) was recently featured in Science Friday’s “Keeping and Eye on the Climate, From Space” segment where he discussed the upcoming NASA climate-focused programs, the past week’s weather in Texas, and provided insight on making decisions regarding the uncertainties about the future of climate.

Rita Sambruna and Richard Mushotzky Selected as AAS Fellows

02/02/2021
Rita Sambruna is cited “For exceptional contributions to the fundamental understanding of relativistic jets from supermassive black holes, for being an ally to, and role model for, underrepresented groups in the field; and for leadership and service.” Richard Mushotzky, who retired from GSFC and is now a professor at the University of Maryland, is cited “For his leadership in X-ray and multiwavelength imaging, timing, and spectroscopy focusing on the physics of black hole accretion, evolution of the elements, and cosmology.”

AGU Honor Awards

11/12/2020
Congratulations to two of SED's scientists, who were awarded AGU Honor Awards. The AGU states, “These individuals embody our shared vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future for all powered by discovery, innovation, and action.”

Dr. Claire L. Parkinson (Code 610) is awarded the Roger Revelle medal. The Roger Revelle Medal is given annually to one AGU honoree in recognition of outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences, atmosphere-ocean coupling, atmosphere-land coupling, biogeochemical cycles, climate or related aspects of the Earth system.

Dr. Barbara L. Giles (Code 670) is awarded the Edward A. Flinn III Award. The Edward A. Flinn III Award is given annually to mid-career or senior scientists, either individually or in a small group, who personifies AGU’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities. This award is for the unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation, and labors of love that build and maintain the infrastructure without which our science could not flourish.

Two SED Scientists Honored as APS Fellows

10/13/2020
Li-Jen Chen was nominated by the APS Division of Plasma Physics for pioneering observational and theoretical contributions to the understanding of collisionless plasma dynamics; especially collisionless magnetic reconnection.

Rita M. Sambruna was selected by the APS Division of Astrophysics for exceptional contributions to the fundamental understanding of relativistic jets from supermassive black holes, and for leadership in, and service to, the field of astrophysics.
Li Jen ChenRita Sambruna

Virtual Visitor Center Sunday Experiment - OSIRIS-REx

10/08/2020
sunday experiment logo
On Oct. 20, in NASA’s first-ever asteroid sample collection attempt, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will attempt to collect a sample from near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Celebrate with us on social media with #ToBennuAndBack!

Visit the Sunday Experiment page on the GSFC Visitor Center site to find activities you can do at home, videos, stories, and how to promote the Touch-and-go event via social media. And check out the OSIRIS-REx resource package for more!

John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science

08/27/2020
A message from Center Director Dennis J. Andrucyk:

In a bit of good news, I would like to congratulate Dennis Reuter and Amy Simon, both from our Solar System Exploration Division, as this year’s co-recipients of the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science, one of the highest honors bestowed by our center. Together, they have led the development and use of infrared spectrometers that are leading to groundbreaking discoveries. Among other achievements, their OSIRIS-REx OVIRS instrument is at asteroid Bennu, where it has enabled the discovery of hydrated minerals. In just a few months, OSIRIS-REx will pluck a sample from the asteroid, making this honor both timely and topical. They will be presented with the award during a future Goddard Scientific Colloquium. Hearty congratulations to both Dennis and Amy, and we’re excited to hear about more amazing discoveries from OSIRIS-REx!
Dennis ReuterAmy Simon

Holly Gilbert on "Science in Seconds" with Thomas Zurbuchen

07/16/2020
video still
NASA Associate Administrator, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, interviews our own Heliophysics Director, Dr. Holly Gilbert, on the "Science in Seconds" feature about Solar Orbiter.

Dr. Joanna Joiner Named Recipient of 2020 William Nordberg Memorial Award for Earth Science

06/24/2020
We are thrilled to announce the selection of Dr. Joanna Joiner as the 2020 William Nordberg Memorial Award for Earth Science winner.

Dr. Joiner is being recognized for exceptional scientific breakthroughs and leadership in the remote sensing of clouds, trace gases, and photosynthesis.

Dr. Joiner serves as Deputy Project Scientist for the NASA EOS Aura satellite and is the lead for the U.S. OMI Science Team, managing the core team that provides critical support for OMI science team members and the wider user community. Together with her international co-Leads, Dr. Joiner accepted the 2018 USGS Pecora Award on behalf of the entire OMI Science Team.

Of particular note is Dr. Joiner’s innovative application of inelastic rotational Raman scattering (the Ring Effect) in UV remote sensing to derive trace-gas vertical profiles and to measure the Solar Induced Fluorescence (SIF) of chlorophyll as a means of estimating gross primary production (GPP) over land surfaces. These contributions, and insights that have produced additional improvements to SO2 retrieval, represent major advances in the field of UV remote sensing, having wide practical implications.

Dr. Joiner will be presented with the William Nordberg Memorial Award during a future Scientific Colloquium that will be scheduled once we are all back on Center.

Claire Parkinson Named Finalist for Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal

05/05/2020
Photo of Claire Parkinson On May 3, 2020, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service announced 27 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) finalists for 2020 – outstanding federal employees who serve the public good and are addressing many of our country’s greatest challenges. One of those winners is climatologist and author, Claire Parkinson of the Earth Sciences Division.

Claire was selected for her achievements in conducting breakthrough scientific research documenting how the changing sea ice covers in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans have played a significant role in climate change and for her role as Project Scientist for the Aqua satellite. Claire is one of six finalists in the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement category.

The Sammies, known as the “Oscars” of government service, are a highly respected honor with a rigorous selection process. Congratulations, Claire!

2019 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science

12/11/2019
Photo of Keith and ZavenDrs. Keith Gendreau and Zaven Arzoumanian are the joint winners of the 2019 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science. Keith and Zaven are being recognized for their development of the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) instrument, and the revelations of the physics of neutron stars and their environments that NICER is producing. Keith is the PI of NICER and Zaven is the Deputy PI.

Ralph Kahn to receive 2019 Nordberg Award

11/27/2019
Photo of Ralph Kahn We are thrilled to announce the selection of Ralph Kahn as the 2019 William Nordberg Memorial Award for Earth Science winner. Ralph Kahn has dedicated most of his scientific career to studying aerosols and their major influences on air quality, aviation safety, cloud properties, and global climate. He has conducted pioneering work to greatly advance our understanding of aerosol interactions with their environment and to influence relevant research directions of GSFC, NASA, and the Earth science community as a whole. His work as MISR Aerosol Scientist has resulted in more than 15 years of global high quality aerosol observations from MISR. Ralph has validated detection algorithms of key sources of biomass burning aerosols, characterized their strength and injection heights into the atmosphere, and showed how to identify and track ash plumes from volcanic eruptions. These techniques are routinely used by aerosol scientists worldwide. Kahn has built an enduring legacy at GSFC for his outstanding ability to build collaborations between NASA mission teams. He has been instrumental in bringing together the aerosol teams of MISR, MODIS, CALIPSO, and OMI and urged the modeling and satellite communities to come together. Kahn’s scientific influence is also evident in his prodigious publication record. Publication prowess is only one facet of his scientific reputation and standing. Kahn entertains a ceaseless stream of invitations for talks at scientific meetings and educational/research institutions. Ralph also cares deeply about community outreach and mentoring early-career scientists. His educational credentials include contributions to the Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing, lending frequently his expertise for Earth Observatory stories, and being a founder and editor of PUMAS, an on-line journal providing pre-college teachers peer-reviewed enrichment material (Outstanding Education Product Award in 1999). Many of his former mentees have moved on to successful positions in academia and government.

Presentation to members of the Italian Photography Fund and the Embassy of Italy

11/19/2019
Ruggiero Di Benedetto, President of the Italian Photography Fund (FIOF), and members of the FIOF and the Embassy of Italy visited Goddard on Tuesday. Joshua Schlieder gave a hyperwall presentation about SED science, with support by Sara Faggi, translating the science into Italian.
photo of Joshua in front of the typerwall

FY2019 SECP graduates

10/09/2019
Goddard’s Science and Engineering Collaboration Program (SECP) serves as a training ground for future lead engineers and principal investigators. The SECP was created to bridge the gap between the GSFC scientific and engineering communities to strengthen engineers’ understanding of the programs and culture within Code 600, increase scientists’ understanding of the resources available within Code 500 for developing new concepts, and to foster collaboration between Code 500 and Code 600 on new space flight technology ideas and concepts. William Brinckerhoff (690) and Rajat Bindlish (617) “graduated” from the program on October 9.
photo of Brinckerhoff receiving certificate photo of Bindlish receiving certificate

Presidential Early Career Awards

07/10/2019
We congratulate Giada Arney, Shawn Domagal-Goldman and Jennifer Stern, on receiving Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Whitehouse web page describes the awards as, “Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the PECASE with participating departments and agencies.”

Giada Arney, is recognized for far-reaching influence in predicting, observing, and communicating about habitability and the potential for life beyond Earth. Shawn Domagal-Goldman, is recognized for his work on the physical models of exoplanets, and Jennifer Stern, for her work on Mars habitability and life detection. Congratulations Giada, Shawn and Jennifer, on this outstanding achievement, and for representing our scientific community here at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

2019 Government and Commercial Invention of the Year

05/28/2019
Congratulations to Keith Gendreau (Code 662), Zaven Arzoumanian (Code 662), and Steven Kenyon (Code 543). NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board have selected the winner for the 2019 Government and Commercial Invention of the Year, and the winner is Miniaturized High Speed Modulated X-Ray source (MXS).

Developed in support of the NICER instrument, the MXS is a small, low cost option for high-speed modulation of X-ray intensity. The miniaturized X-ray source can be modulated in intensity from completely off to full intensity, over 100 keV, on subnanosecond timescales. The high speed switching capability and miniature size make possible many new technologies including X-ray-based communication, compact time resolved X-ray diffraction, novel X-ray fluorescence instruments, low precise dose medical X-rays, and more.

Thank you Keith, Zaven and Steve for representing Goddard while advancing research and development in a field that benefits all of us.

Our Years With Piers

04/02/2019
photo of Compton Tucker speaking at a podium in front of a large photo of Piers on a spacewalk
On March 29, 2019, Piers Sellers’s friends and colleagues at Goddard celebrated his life and work with a colloquium: “Our Years with Piers.” Host Compton Tucker reminisced about decades of friendship with the beloved scientist, astronaut and science communicator. Musicians also performed a unique composition inspired by Sellers’ observations in space. Guy Sellers, Piers’ brother, recounted their childhood in Britain and colleagues traveled from near and far to participate in the symposium.

Poster Blowout 2019 is in the books!

02/27/2019
photo of people at the poster party

Photos from this year's Poster Blowout are available now. Congratulations to everyone, especially this year's winners!

Five Teams Win NASA DALI Awards to Advance Future Lunar Missions

02/20/2019
The agency’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation, or DALI, program recently awarded 10 teams each about $4 million in funding to mature spacecraft based instruments for use in future lander missions including those offered by commercial ventures. These instruments, which are supposed to have reached a high level of technology readiness by the time funding ends in three years, will support scientific investigations, human exploration, lunar mining, and other in-situ lunar-resource activities. Of the 10 awards, half went to teams involving Goddard experts, who are either serving as principal investigators or co-investigators. The five teams are Submillimeter Solar Observation Lunar Volatiles Experiment (SSOLVE), Characterization of Regolith and Trace Economic Resources (CRATER), Bulk Elemental Composition Analyzer (BECA), Potassium-Argon Laser Experiment (KArLE), and Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS). Congratulations to these teams! Read more starting at page 5 of Cutting Edge.

NASA Goddard Year in Review - 2018

12/07/2018
aerial view of Goddard
Just outside Washington, D.C., Goddard is home to hundreds of scientific missions. We operate Hubble. We manage communications between mission control and astronauts aboard the International Space Station. our scientists stare into the Sun, grind up meteorites for signs of life's building blocks, look into the farthest reaches of space, and untangle the mysteries of our own changing world. Goddard engineers construct sensitive instruments, build telescopes that peer into the cosmos, and operate the test chambers that ensure those satellites' survival.

Enjoy some of the highlights from our 2018 trip around the Sun!

Goddard heliophysicists Jeff Newmark and Nat Gopalswamy featured in Cutting Edge

10/23/2018
photo of Jeff and Nat An observational technique first proposed more than four decades ago to measure three important processes necessary for the formation of the solar wind — the source of disturbances in Earth’s upper atmosphere — will be demonstrated for the first time next year. Goddard heliophysicists Nat Gopalswamy and Jeff Newmark plan to demonstrate BITSE — short for the Balloon-borne Investigation of Temperature and Speed of Electrons in the corona — aboard a high-altitude scientific balloon from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, next fall. BITSE will detect the density, temperature, and speed of electrons in the corona. The story appears starting on page 7 in Goddard's "Cutting Edge" technology magazine.

SEEC: New Exoplanet Collaboration Seeks to Answer Age-Old Question: Are We Alone?

10/23/2018
photo of Avi and Elisa with Science-on-a-sphere Goddard scientists Avi Mandell and Elisa Quintana are among the scientists participating in the Sellers Exoplanet Environment Collaboration, a cross-disciplinary research effort named after the late Piers Sellers. The collaboration is now funding 16 cross-disciplinary research teams that are working with already-existing analytical tools, such as 3-D general-circulation and stellar-outflow models, to see how they could be adapted or modified to run simulations that would advance exoplanet science. The story runs in Goddard's technology magazine, "Cutting Edge" starting on page 13.

Alex Young to receive 2018 AGU Athelstan Spilhaus Award

09/10/2018
photo of Alex speaking The Associate Director of Science in the Heliophysics Division, Alex Young, has been selected to receive the 2018 AGU Athelstan Spilhaus Award! This award is given in recognition for “enhancement of the public engagement with Earth and space sciences, through devoting portions of their career conveying to the general public the excitement, significance, and beauty of the Earth and space sciences.”

Science intern award winners

08/03/2018
The 2018 science intern award winners are Natasha Dacic, Alexandra Hanselman, and Katherine Melbourne. They are pictured here with Colleen Hartman, Blanche Meeson, and Raquel Marshall from the education office.
photograph of the winners and management

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