David E.

Steitz Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1730)

February 8, 1999

Allen Kenitzer Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-2806) Harvey Leifert American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/939-3212) RELEASE: 99-16 STUDENT NAMES NASA EARTH OBSERVING SATELLITE; NASA SETS LAUNCH DATE In a student contest to name the first in its series of Earth Observing System satellites, NASA chose 'Terra' -- in honor of our planet's mythical Mother Earth -- as the winning name. The Terra spacecraft will enable scientists to study, with unprecedented clarity, global climatic and environmental changes going into the new millennium. In setting a launch date of July 15, 1999, for the spacecraft formerly known as "EOS AM-1," NASA's Associate Administrator for Earth Sciences, Dr. Ghassem Asrar, announced the new name after reviewing the top ten finalist essays from a contest jointly sponsored by NASA and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). "The concept of 'Terra' uniquely conveys the themes and objectives of this important Earth science mission," Asrar said. "I congratulate Ms. Sasha Jones, a student in St. Louis, MO, for submitting the winning name and essay." Sasha's school will receive a computer and software that will enable students and teachers there to access Terra satellite imagery on the World Wide Web. Informed that she had won the grand prize, Sasha, 17, said, "That's cool; I never won anything in my life." A senior at Brentwood High School in St. Louis, she plans to attend Western University and major in English. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Barry Jones, will accompany Sasha to Terra's launch, and she hopes her brother Brandon, 15, and sister Kristine, 12, can make the trip

too. In all, the international contest drew more than 1,100 entries from all 50 states and more than a dozen other countries. Members of the selection committee included top NASA and AGU officials, as well as Earth scientists and science teachers. Terra is the flagship of NASA's Earth Observing System, a series of satellites designed to observe the Earth from the unique vantage point of space. Focused on key measurements identified by a consensus of U.S. and international scientists, Terra will enable new research into the ways that our planet's lands, oceans, air, ice and life interact as a whole climate system. Terra is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, for NASA's Office of Earth Science enterprise, Washington, DC. The AGU is an international organization of more than 35,000 scientists dedicated to advancing the understanding of Earth and its environment in space, and making the results of their research available to the public. - end EDITORS NOTE: Further information, images and background materials, as well as the winning contest essay and those of the other top ten finalists, may be found on NASA's Terra Web site, at URL: http://terra.nasa.gov