Software of the Year

Text Size

2005 Award Co-Winners

Award Title:

Land Information System (LIS) v. 4.0

Lead NASA Center:

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Case Number:



The Land Information System software ( is a high performance land surface modeling and data assimilation system. It integrates parallel and distributed computing technologies with modern land surface modeling capabilities, and establishes a framework for easy interchange of other land surface models. The software includes an ensemble of land surface models and can be run regionally or globally on grids with horizontal resolutions ranging from 2.5 degrees to 1 km. The software may execute serially or in parallel on various high performance computing platforms. In addition, the software developed has well defined, standard conforming interfaces and data structures to interface and interoperate with other Earth System models.

Developed with support from the Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) Computational Technologies, LIS has helped advance the Earth-Sun division's software engineering principles and practices, while promoting portability, interoperability and scalability. LIS is being used on the science teams for the currently orbiting Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and the EOS-Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E). It is also being prototyped as the software infrastructure to produce level 4 products from the ESSP-3 mission Hydros, to be launched in 2010.

Top layer soil moisture during Hurricane Katrina. Inset: Land surface rainfall rate during Hurricane Katrina.

Above: Top layer soil moisture during Hurricane Katrina. Inset: Land surface rainfall rate during Hurricane Katrina.

Images from space of Mt. Etna in Sicily during a recent eruption

Above: Images from space of Mt. Etna in Sicily during a recent eruption. EO-1 was automatically drawn to view the volcano by the presence of the heat signature from the lava flows.

Award Title:

The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (ASE) Software

Lead NASA Center:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Case Number:



ASE enables science-driven autonomous spacecraft to increase its science return by two orders of magnitude. It accomplishes this efficiency by autonomously detecting and tracking dynamic scientific processes, and has been successfully used on the Earth Observing One (EO-1) Mission.

ASE is a new approach to space exploration: instead of relying on ground operations, a spacecraft can now respond autonomously to detected science events. Monitoring of volcanic activity and flooding from space is greatly improved using ASE, thereby impacting mankind as a whole.

ASE is in development for use on the NASA/JPL Mars Odyssey Mission, and is under consideration for numerous future NASA missions. This technology has been the subject of numerous journal articles and conference presentations.

The value added to NASA has already reached millions of dollars, and will undoubtedly increase as ASE is integrated into future missions.

ASE is now the primary mission operations software for EO-1, not an experiment. It has flown over an 18-month period and as the primary means of operations since November 2004.

ASE is a product of the groundbreaking patented software system known as ASPEN.