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NASA and National Park Service to Share Satellite Data
02.18.05
 
If you've ever visited one of the 388 U.S. National Park areas, you may have wondered how the land, water and historic buildings are managed and how they deal with weather extremes from heavy snows to floods and fires.

This is a photo of a spruce forest in Acadia National Park, Maine.Image to right: Acadia National Park Spruce Forest: This is a photo of a spruce forest in Acadia National Park, Maine. Park managers hope to use NASA satellite data to help manage the forest resources of the park. Located on the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia National Park encompasses over 47,000 acres of granite-domed mountains, woodlands, lakes and ponds, and ocean shoreline. Such diverse habitats create striking scenery and make the park a haven for wildlife and plants. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: NPS

The National Park service has been watching their resources on the ground and in the air but now they'll have "eyes" in space to help, too. Thanks to a new agreement signed between the National Park Service and NASA, NASA satellites will be used to help keep parks in good shape, and learn about natural hazards facing them.

Today, roughly 60% of the 388 park areas administered by the National Park Service have been set aside as symbols and evidence of our history and prehistory. Many of our natural parks contain historic places that represent important aspects of that history. Collectively, these places present an American history textbook, a textbook that educates us about the people, events, buildings, objects, landscapes, and artifacts of the American past and about the aspirations and actions that produced those tangible survivors.

This Landsat ETM+ Satellite image of Acadia National Park was produced on Sept. 2, 2002.Image to left: The Landsat Satellite Sees Acadia National Park: This Landsat ETM+ Satellite image of Acadia National Park was produced on Sept. 2, 2002 by a project funded by the National Park Service’s Northeast Temperate Network Inventory and Monitoring program. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: NASA GSFC & Y.Q. Wang at the Laboratory for Terrestrial Remote Sensing, Univ. Rhode Island

The National Park Service (NPS) and NASA share a common theme "Exploration is knowledge." The NPS explores and preserves our natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of this and future generations. NASA explores the past and the present to seek knowledge for today and tomorrow. Both NPS and NASA want to educate and inspire the public through exploration of natural environments. NASA exploration and science programs offer substantial benefits to NPS interpretation activities that, in turn, inform and inspire park visitors about our place in the natural world and the universe.

On Oct. 6, 2003, NASA's Terra satellite MODIS instrument captured this blanket of snow over Montana, top right, and Wyoming, bottom right, and the mountains of Idaho, left.Image to right: Snow in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: On Oct. 6, 2003, NASA's Terra satellite MODIS instrument captured this blanket of snow over Montana, top right, and Wyoming, bottom right, and the mountains of Idaho, left. Snow, and the water it supplies, is important in these western states, and it's helpful to water managers to see where the snow falls. The dark wrinkle of mountains in Wyoming’s upper left corner are part of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The red dot on the left edge of the mountains in central Idaho marks the location of a fire. The dark up-side-down “v”-shaped lake in the upper right corner of the image is Fort Peck Lake, on the Upper Missouri River. The Lake is the fifth largest man-made reservoir in the U.S. It is 134 miles long and up to 220 feet deep. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

One of the goals of NPS is to offer a window into the historical richness of the National Park System and the opportunities it presents for understanding who we are, where we have been, and how we as a society, might approach the future. To better accomplish this goal, NPS joined forces with NASA. The agencies will be sharing satellite data and imagery, and collaborating on exploration and science programs all for the preservation, enhancement and interpretation of U.S. natural resources.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will enable this data sharing was recently signed by Michael A. Soukup, Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science at the National Park Service, and Alphonso V. Diaz, Associate Administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

This is a photo of Undine Falls in Yellowstone National Park.Image to left: Undine Falls, Yellowstone National Park: Lava Creek here spills over the cliff face of a basalt lava flow that was emplaced about 700,000 years ago. Named after this falls, the Undine Falls Basalt erupted before Yellowstone's third explosive caldera-forming eruption that ejected the Lava Creek Tuff about 640,000 years ago. Scientists first distinguished the Lava Creek Tuff from the 2.1-million-year-old Huckleberry Ridge Tuff in the 1960s on nearby Mount Everts--the first clue that Yellowstone's history included more than one caldera-forming eruption. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: USGS

NPS and NASA will now coordinate teams on the ground to survey parks and compare the data to satellite data, compile satellite imagery of parks, develop databases of satellite data, and use that data to make decisions on managing the parks' resources.

This collaboration will also provide opportunities at NPS research learning centers, conferences and training workshops for NASA experts to present papers, and to conduct hands-on and specialized tutorials. Universities will also benefit, as joint projects will be coordinated and promoted with them through the NPS regional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technical support centers.

NASA's Terra satellite captured this large fire that sprang up in the Sequoia National Forest about 12 miles north of the town of Kernville.Image to right: Fires and Smoke In California and Oregon: Land managers can use satellite images to help fight fires in and out of National Parks and forests. NASA's Terra satellite captured a large fire that sprang up in the Sequoia National Forest about 12 miles north of the town of Kernville. The USDA Forest Service said the McNalley fire started on the afternoon of July 21, 2002, and by July 22, had rapidly spread to more than 9,000 acres. To the north, the Biscuit Fire in southwest Oregon was a combination of the Florence Fire and Sour Biscuit Fires, which merged to create a single massive blaze that ultimately burned almost half a million acres. The fire burned over the state line into California, and ultimately consumed almost half a million acres. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

NASA will provide the satellite data, and NPS will develop image maps, scientific, educational and interpretation materials, information services, and related products. NASA and the NPS will also link related websites.

The bottom line is that the agreement will allow NASA and NPS to consider ways that they can cooperate on projects, products and services that are mutually beneficial and beneficial to park visitors.

This is a photograph of the McNalley Fire in the Sequoia National Forest taken by the USDA Forest Service Region 5 Office, in July 2002.Image to left: Close Up of the 2002 McNalley Fire: This is a photograph of the McNalley Fire in the Sequoia National Forest taken by the USDA Forest Service Region 5 Office, in July 2002. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: USFS, Denise Buske and Gloria Smith.








Public Affairs Contacts:

Gretchen Cook-Anderson/ Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202/358-0836/1753
gcookand@hq.nasa.gov

Lynne Murdock
National Park Service, Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202/513-7195
Lynne_Murdock@nps.gov

Related Websites:

For a more detailed web feature, go to:http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/earthandsun/nps_data.html

For more information about the National Park Service, please visit on the Internet:
http://www.nps.gov

 
 
Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center