Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 4:30 PM
4C-4 (Washington State Convention Center)
By 1971 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was beginning to phase down its Apollo Moon Program in favor of developing a partly reusable Space Shuttle vehicle that could be used to construct and supply a manned, Earth-orbiting Space Station. In 1970 an international report of the Study of Critical Environmental Problems (SCEP) had been issued by the MIT Press. Thus, the Agency began to emphasize its Space Applications programs in response to the growing public concern about Earth's finite natural resources and the degradation of its environment. Shortly thereafter, a NASA workshop was convened in Norfolk, Virginia, on the topic of the Remote Measurement of Pollution (or RMOP), and its findings can be found in a NASA Special Publication (NASA SP-285, 1971). Its three primary panels and their chairmen were focused on trace gas species (Will Kellogg), atmospheric particulates or aerosols (Verner Suomi), and water pollution (Gifford Ewing). Many of the workshop participants were specialists in the techniques that might be employed for the regional to global-scale, remote measurements of pollution from an Earth-orbiting satellite. In fact, the findings and recommendations of the SCEP and RMOP Reports represent the genesis of and blueprint for the satellite Earth-sensing programs within NASA for the following several decades. This paper is a brief, 40-year retrospective of the instrument developments and demonstrated measurement successes for temperature and gaseous species that were an outgrowth of the RMOP activity.
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