The extreme environments and otherworldly realms of sea and space may
appear to have little in common, but their surprising similarities have
prompted NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) to host a gathering of sea and space professionals. The goal is
to improve collaboration between the agencies to enhance the nation’s
exploration capabilities.

The three-day working symposium, LINK 2002, will be held at the Kennedy
Space Center, Fla., May 20-22, and will involve some 100 sea and space
professionals from government, industry and non-profit organizations.
They will build on existing NOAA-NASA partnerships, promote the
excitement of exploration on the frontiers of sea and space, and
provide a mechanism for both communities to share ideas and collaborate
on common interests in technology development.

Support for the event comes from NASA’s Oceanography Program and NOAA’s
recently created Office of Ocean Exploration. The conference is named
after Edwin Link, a pioneering American inventor and researcher in
aeronautics and ocean engineering.

Framing the context for LINK 2002, Scott B. Gudes, Deputy Under
Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, said, “NOAA and NASA
have similar difficulties in reaching the extreme environments they
explore. We are working on the same technologies, but on parallel
tracks. The Link Symposium is the perfect opportunity to bring all of
the players together. We share what we have done, what we know and what
we can do. But just as important, we share our biggest puzzles and try
to help each other solve them.”

“Today, we study the Earth as a whole system. Oceanography on a global
basis is made possible by being able to observe the ocean from space,”
said Dr. Ghassem R. Asrar, NASA Associate Administrator for the Earth
Science Enterprise. “The deep ocean and deep space are both extreme
environments into which we send humans and machines. Oceanographers can
benefit from the experience and technology of space exploration. Space
exploration scientists can apply the lessons of deep sea exploration to
the analogous extreme environment of space. This conference provides an
opportunity to put the two communities together to build relationships
and learn from one another.”

In addition to the conference’s plenary, technical sessions and working
groups, the symposium also will highlight educational and outreach
efforts such as the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE)
Center’s remotely operated vehicle national competition for high school
and college students. The MATE Center’s mission is to help prepare
America’s work force for marine-related occupations.

NASA’s Oceanography Program supports LINK 2002 as part of the Earth
Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort dedicated to
understanding and protecting our home planet. Through the study of
Earth, NASA provides sound science to policy and economic decision
makers to improve life here on Earth while developing the technologies
needed to explore the universe and search for life beyond our home
planet. To learn more about NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise see

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal
and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, visit

For more information on the Link Symposium, visit

NOTE: Media attendance of any LINK 2002 activity requires advance
accreditation and registration. To register or request an interview
slot contact Mark Ward, 407-254-0840,

For event highlights and coverage guidelines see