Date: Feb. 5, 2013
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST
Topic: Landsat: A Stunning Exploration of Earth
Subjects: Earth Science: Remote Sensing
Career: Instrument Scientist for Landsat - An instrument scientist assists engineers when building a satellite instrument and then gathers and analyzes data collected by the scientific instrument.
Phil Dabney, an instrument scientist for the Landsat satellite mission, answered student questions about the importance of the upcoming launch of the Landsat satellite and how it will affect what we know about Earth. He talked about NASA's presence in the study of our home planet and how vital that presence is in detecting and preparing for natural disasters. He described how he has used almost every aspect of his education with his job.
When scientists need a satellite instrument to gather specific data, they create a list of requirements that the instrument must meet, and then give the requirements to engineers who design and build it. During the process, not everything goes according to plan, and sometimes changes must be made while building the instrument. Those changes can have a big impact on data, and scientists need to know about the changes and their impact in order to move the mission forward. So a lot of information moves back and forth throughout the process.
Phil Dabney is responsible for bridging the gap between Landsat mission scientists and engineers; he helps to solve problems on both fronts. This responsibility requires a wealth of knowledge in many areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as strong communication skills.