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Elvia H.

Headquarters, Washington Dec. 6, 2002
AGU Press Room, San Francisco
(Phone: 202/358-1696/Pager: 800/759-8888, pin: 1254467)

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1547)



NASA scientists will present their findings, during

several press conferences, at the annual fall conference of
the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Dec. 6-10, 2002. The
meeting is one of the largest annual scientific conferences,
attracting thousands of scientists from a variety of
disciplines. The conference is in the Moscone Center, 747
Howard Street, Room 112, San Francisco.

Key Conference Sessions

The topics of the press conferences and the four conference

sessions listed below are some of the most noteworthy of
hundreds of NASA-funded research findings being presented
during individual sessions. All times are Pacific Standard

Mysteries of the Martian Rivers: A special session

highlighting new research on Mars, Friday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.
in Exhibit Hall C. Scientists from NASA and the University of
Colorado say the bombardment of Mars by comets and asteroids
caused cycles of rain. The rain cycles led to global
flooding, the formation of Mars' river valleys and other
water-sculpted features, more than 3.8 billion years ago.
NASA scientists will be available for interviews in the AGU
pressroom immediately following the session, from 4 to 5 p.m.
For more information, see:

Laser Technology Helps Measure Pollution From New York City

Buses: Atmospheric scientists used laser technology, while
riding in traffic behind New York City transit buses, to find
out how much and what type of pollution different types of
buses emitted in their exhausts. The surprising findings may
help other cities determine what kinds of buses to purchase
for their transit systems. The study found conventional
diesel buses are comparatively fuel-efficient, but produce
nitrogen oxide pollutants that can contribute to
photochemical smog, as well as large amounts of fine soot and
sulfate particles. The authors will present their poster,
titled "Gas Phase Emission Ratios From In-Use Diesel and CNG
Curbside Passenger Buses in New York City," on Friday, Dec.
6. For more information see:

Tracing the Sun-Earth Connection Into the Upper Atmosphere:

For the first time, a solar storm has been monitored by more
than 90 satellites, 790 ground-based radars, GPS receivers,
and recently launched satellites. For six days in April, the
Earth was subjected to a series of violent solar eruptions
called coronal mass ejections or CMEs. CMEs, sending matter
from the Sun toward the Earth at speeds of more than five
million miles per hour, create shock waves ahead of them. As
these solar particles sweep into the Earth's magnetosphere,
they trigger auroral displays and disruptions in radio
communications. Following the solar events, dramatic changes
in the Earth's atmosphere were observed by new satellite
systems previously unavailable. This session, on Monday, Dec.
9, at 10 a.m., draws together scientists from many
disciplines to explore this phenomenon. For more information

Press Conference Highlights

Friday, Dec. 6, 12:15 p.m.

NASA Traces Asian Air Pollution Over The Pacific
Scientists expect the current rapid industrialization of Asia
to be a major driver of global changes in the makeup of the
atmosphere. NASA-funded researchers say the makeup of air
originating in Asia largely confirms current estimates of
Asian emissions, except for unexpectedly large amounts of
carbon monoxide and black carbon (soot) air pollution. The
2001 Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific
airborne field experiment provided an opportunity for
scientists to study the composition and chemical evolution of
air as it moves away from Asia and across the Pacific Ocean.
For more information see:

Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 a.m.

Blowing in the Winds: New Applications for Scatterometer
This press conference looks at the significant contributions
QuikScat data is making to global weather forecasting and
various Earth research investigations. Among the findings to
be presented are some surprising effects that typhoons have
on creation of new marine life and how scatterometer data is
being applied in new ways, such as regional flood detection
and monitoring the growing season in northern forests. See:

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m.

New Insights Into Gravity from the GRACE Mission
The first image released from the joint NASA-German Aerospace
Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)
graphically illustrates the sensitivity of the mission's twin
spacecraft to changes in Earth's gravity. Color gradations in
the image measure changes in the distance between the GRACE
spacecraft as they orbit overhead approximately 220
kilometers (137 miles) apart. Such variations are caused as
the spacecraft fly over Earth's uneven gravity field, for
example, when GRACE travels over mountain ranges or undersea
trenches. Earth's largest spatial features have been removed
from this image so such smaller features can be highlighted.
GRACE's extremely sensitive microwave-ranging instrumentation
is capable of measuring variations at the micron, or
millionth of a meter, level. For more information see:

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.

NASA'S Mars Odyssey Reveals More About Ice and Dust
Updated information from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft,
highlighting water ice distribution on the planet and color
images of the surface, are the most extensive and
illuminating of the mission so far. By mid-October, the
frozen carbon dioxide that seasonally caps Mars' North Pole
had evaporated sufficiently to give Odyssey's scientists
their first chance to look for ice in that region. For more
information see:

Monday, Dec. 9, 9 a.m.

Interiors of the Outer-Planet Satellites
This is the latest in a seven-year-long string of surprises
from NASA's Galileo spacecraft about the moons of Jupiter.
Dr. John Anderson, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will present findings about the
density of the small inner moon Amalthea, as determined from
Galileo's close flyby of that moon in November. Density gives
important clues about the composition of a body. For more
information see:

Monday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.

Mars Exploration Rover: Returning to the Martian Surface
NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers will head for the
mysterious Red Planet in just over one year. "The twin rovers
will be able to travel the distance of several football
fields during their missions. They will carry sophisticated
instruments that effectively make them robotic geologists,
acting as the eyes and hands of the science team on Earth,"
said Dr. Mark Adler, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. "We are busy building and testing the two rovers
and the spacecraft that will land them safely on Mars," he
said. For more information see:

To arrange interviews, please contact NASA staff in the AGU

pressroom during the conference.

The AGU Fall Meeting Press Room is Room 111 of the Moscone
Convention Center. The phone number for incoming calls is 1
(415) 905-1007. The phone number for incoming faxes is 1
(415) 905-1008. The Press Room is open daily during the
meeting from 7:30 a.m. until at least 5:30 p.m. The Press
Briefing Room is Room 112, adjacent to the Press Room.
For more information about AGU, contact: Harvey Leifert at or (202) 777-7507.