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GRACE Media Briefing Set for March 7

Press Release From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Monday, March 4, 2002

In preparation for the launch of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, NASA has scheduled a science briefing at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, March 7, in the James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The twin GRACE satellites are scheduled to be launched Saturday, March 16, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on a five-year mission to precisely map Earth's gravity field.

Participants in the GRACE briefing are expected to include:

* Dr. Ghassem R. Asrar, Associate Administrator for Earth Science, NASA Headquarters
* Dr. John L. LaBrecque, manager, Solid Earth and Natural Hazards Program, NASA Headquarters
* Dr. Byron Tapley, GRACE principal investigator, Center for Space Research, University of Texas
* Dr. Michael Watkins, GRACE project scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.
* Ralf Huber, head, Washington Office, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Rumfahrt (DLR) -- German Aerospace Center
* Dr. Christoph Reigber, GRACE co-principal investigator, DLR-GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ)

The briefing will be carried live on NASA Television with two-way question-and-answer capability for reporters covering the press conference from participating NASA centers.

GRACE -- the inaugural flight in NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program -- is a joint U.S./German mission that will measure minute variations in Earth's surface mass. These variations cause corresponding variations in gravitational pull that affect the orbital motion of the twin satellites flying 220 kilometers (137 miles) apart in the same polar orbit. From these measurements, monthly maps of Earth's gravity field will be constructed.

The precise gravity mapping provided by GRACE, in concert with other NASA missions, will significantly enhance science return in the areas of oceanography, hydrology, glaciology, geology and related disciplines. The mission will also create more accurate profiles of atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity, leading to improved weather forecasts.

NASA TV is broadcast on satellite GE-2, transponder 9C, C band, 85 degrees west longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, vertical polarization, audio monaural at 6.8 MHz.

The briefing also will be available on the Internet at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv/ntvweb.html

More information about the GRACE mission can be found at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/grace

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