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For Release: Nov. 12, 1997

RELEASE NO. 97-126

NASA LANGLEY STORY OPPORTUNITIES - NOVEMBER 1997

TAMING STORMY WEATHER. A NASA-developed system that can provide pilots with up-to-date and easy-to-use weather information is nearing the end of a six-month in-service evaluation. Under NASA Langley contract, a Boeing-led team is evaluating potential cost savings of the system as it flies on a regularly-scheduled United Airlines DC-10. Called Cockpit Weather Information, the system has been a hit with pilots faced with routing decisions because of the threat of bad weather ahead. With near real-time data transmitted directly to the cockpit via satellite and displayed graphically on color monitors, the system has been likened to having "an interactive mobile weather channel." Video and interviews are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120; h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

I'VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW.Pictures from space often show the Earth covered by clouds. In fact, more than 50 percent of the Earth is covered by clouds at any one time. Thin, high clouds can trap heat emitted by the Earth producing warming. Low, thick clouds can reflect the Sun's energy back into space causing cooling. Scientists need to know how clouds trap or reflect energy, and how much and how often they do it, in order to understand what effect clouds have on our planet's climate. The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument, scheduled for launch aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission observatory on Nov. 18, will provide long-term global data on the Earth's clouds and energy budget. Interviews, facts sheets, and video b-roll and animation are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

GENERAL AVIATION VIDEO ANIMATION AVAILABLE. A 90-second, 3-D video animation illustrating technologies that promise to make flying a personal airplane as easy as driving a car is available to accredited media upon request. Pitched to appeal to any viewer, the video shows a typical family taking their personal airplane to the beach for the weekend. The technologies depicted are flowing from a government-industry consortium formed to revitalize the nation's general aviation industry. The consortium, called AGATE, also aims to make flying a personal airplane affordable and safe. STILL FRAMES TOO! Available by Thanksgiving will be four high-quality still images taken from the AGATE video animation.
Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120; h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

STUDENT RESEARCHERS AID MARS AEROBRAKING. As the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) repeatedly dips into the Martian atmosphere to slow itself down, graduate students from the George Washington University Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences at NASA Langley are helping mission engineers determine how well the aerobraking is working and what adjustments need to be made, if any, to the MGS orbit. Interviews, images and video animation are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

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