Press Release

Amazing GRACE Team Receives Prestigious Award

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2007
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Amazing GRACE Team Receives Prestigious Award

SAN FRANCISCO – A mission that has changed the way we study Earth’s gravitational forces has been recognized by a prestigious award for helping scientists better understand our home planet. NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior presented the coveted William T. Pecora Award to the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission team and Stanley A. Morain of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

The two agencies present individual and group Pecora Awards annually to honor outstanding contributions in the field of remote sensing and its application to understanding Earth. The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of William T. Pecora, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and under secretary of the Department of the Interior.

The mission, known as GRACE, uses twin satellites to make precise gravity-field measurements to study changes on Earth. Signal achievements include the first uniform measurement of Greenland and Antarctic ice mass changes and monthly estimates of water accumulation in the world’s river basins.

“We congratulate the GRACE team for its great achievements, which are testaments to the leadership, vision and creativity of each team member,” said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Stern presented the award to the GRACE team Monday at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco. Jim Devine, senior advisor for science applications at the U.S. Geological Survey, represented the Department of the Interior at the award presentation.

GRACE is a collaborative endeavor involving the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the German Space Agency and Germany’s National Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam.

Morain is professor of geography and director of the Earth Data Analysis Center at the University of New Mexico. In a career spanning more than four decades, he has collaborated internationally to create remote sensing applications that benefit society in the areas of agriculture, transportation and public health.

In addition to his career as a researcher and educator, Morain has served as president of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and received the individual Pecora Award at its annual meeting on Oct. 28. Morain also is an active member of several remote sensing societies.

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SpaceRef staff editor.