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:

More information about the GRACE mission can be found at: