Press Release

JPL Team Honored With NASA’s Software of The Year Award

By SpaceRef Editor
September 15, 2005
Filed under ,

Software developed by a team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has been selected to receive NASA’s Software of the Year Award.  The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment software helps scientists monitor environmental events on Earth, such as volcanic eruptions, floods and wildfires.

The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment is a new approach to space exploration. Instead of relying on commands from the ground, it allows a spacecraft to respond autonomously to detected science events.   By making decisions onboard, the spacecraft can respond rapidly to the event and then relay information and images to scientists. The software has been successfully used on NASA’s Earth Observing One mission to acquire over 3,000 images.

“The software has exceeded all of our expectations,” said Dr. Steve Chien, JPL principal investigator for the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment. “The software has been used to operate Earth Observing One for over a year. Future missions can use this technology to capture dynamic science events such as dust devils and dust storms on Mars or comet outbursts.”

A team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., was also honored with a NASA Software of the Year Award for their Land Information Systems software.

NASA started the competition in 1994, designed to reward outstanding software at the agency, as measured by the following criteria:

  • The science and technology significance of the software and its impact on NASA’s mission
  • The extent of current and potential use
  • The usability of the software
  • The quality factors considered in the software
  • Intellectual property factors such as patents and copyrights
  • Innovation of the software

  Software eligible for this award must have NASA intellectual property interest, be of commercial grade, and be available to appropriate commercial users or dedicated to a NASA mission.

NASA’s New Millennium Program developed the software and is responsible for testing new technologies in space.

For more information on the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment on the Internet, visit: .

For more information about the Software of the Year Award on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.