David E. Steitz

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1730)

RELEASE: 00-65

NASA is taking the first steps toward Internet-like
connectivity among its future Earth sensing satellites with the
funding of 30 research proposals from industry, academia,
government and NASA centers in Advanced Information System

Known as “Sensor Web,” this is the first in a series of
information technology research initiatives that will help NASA’s
Office of Earth Sciences solve the massive challenge of
collecting, processing, routing and storing Earth science
measurement data. Of the 117 proposals submitted, the 30 selected
cover a variety of topics ranging from satellite on-board
processing, data collection and analysis, information transmission
and wireless networks, to satellite platform control.

“With the increasing number of Earth observing satellites
planned over the next decade, information technology will be the
key to collecting and distributing Earth science data and
information products to the global science community,” said Dr.
Ghassem Asrar, Associate Administrator for Earth Sciences at NASA
Headquarters, Washington, DC.

“The concept of integrating a constellation of Earth
observing satellites into a cohesive network of measurement
instruments is what we call the ‘Sensor Web.’ It is similar to
the Internet in that scientists and other users will have access
to any on-orbit sensors and be able to direct and control those
sensors in the same manner as we access information on the
Internet today,” Asrar said. “This activity exemplifies our
commitment as an Agency to the development of cutting-edge
technologies to benefit our science community and the nation as a

The Sensor Web concept also will take full advantage of the
revolution occurring in information and telecommunications
technologies for direct delivery of space-based Earth observations
to the end-user at the cost of placing a long distance telephone
call, according to Asrar.

Research funded by this program will proceed over three
years. During that period, a second increment of research
projects will be initiated, focusing on other aspects of
information technology essential to the next generation of Earth
science missions. When fully implemented, an unprecedented amount
of scientific data on the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans will
be available for study and public use.

NASA’s Office of Earth Sciences is dedicated to the long-term
study of how human-induced and natural changes effect our global

The 30 research proposals selected by the Advanced
Information System Technology program will have a total value of
approximately $26 million over a three year period and will
involve government, industry and university partners in 12 states
and the District of Columbia. A description of the selected
proposals can be found on the Internet at URL:



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