News and Events








+ October 19, 2009: Message from NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. - Take the GreenGov Challenge


Over the last few years, we've seen how going green has made a big impact in the workplace. Whether it’s through small ideas, like enabling double-sided printing, or big ideas, like retrofitting our buildings to save energy, we're working to save money and the environment.

When it comes to going green, the best ideas don't always come out of Headquarters conference rooms or from a specific field center. You've probably had your own good ideas on how we can save energy and reduce waste -- ideas like installing bike racks to encourage employees to bike to work or switching to longer-lasting LED lights. You may have even helped implement these ideas in your office, but sometimes it can be difficult to share what’s working at your desk with a larger audience

Get ready to really make a difference. Starting today, you can submit your ideas, big and small, to the GreenGov Challenge at and share them with more than three million of your colleagues in an online forum and marketplace designed to bring together creative clean-energy solutions and help the best ideas get noticed.

Here's how the GreenGov Challenge works. From now until Oct. 31, any federal employee can submit a clean energy idea to the GreenGov Challenge at Once an idea is submitted, all federal employees and men and women in the Armed Services can take a look and vote an idea up or down. As more ideas are submitted and voted on, the best ideas will start to rise to the top.

You can sign in with your real name or anonymously. Though the general public can visit the site, only federal employees with a government email address can submit ideas or vote them up or down.

At the beginning of November, some of your best ideas will be presented to the Steering Committee on Federal Sustainability, a group comprised of a senior official from each agency. Your ideas will figure prominently as agencies throughout the federal government develop their sustainability plans.

As you may know, President Obama signed an Executive Order on Federal Sustainability on Oct. 5. The order is a challenge to all federal agencies to increase energy efficiency, reduce petroleum consumption, conserve water and reduce waste.

But the order has an even greater goal -- it commits the federal government to lead by example and demonstrate that going green isn't just the responsible thing to do -- going green can save money, increase efficiency and improve our energy security.

The GreenGov Challenge at is an important part of this effort.

So whether you work at Headquarters or a field center, we need your ideas, no matter how big or how small. This is your chance, not only to impact how NASA will meet its own sustainability goals, but also to help establish the federal government as a worldwide leader in energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Submit your ideas, or just vote for your favorites. Be part of the GreenGov Challenge and help green our government:

















































+ April 17, 2008: GREEN Team Seminar Entitled Monitoring and Modeling the Life Support Systems of Planet Earth


The final GREEN Team seminar, entitled Monitoring and Modeling the Life Support Systems of Planet Earth, was held on Thursday, April 17, 2008 from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the NASA Ames Main Auditorium, N201.


“We are not just passengers on spaceship Earth, we are the crew.” (Marshall McLuhan)

In outer space, the astronauts' understanding of life support systems is a matter of survival. More specifically, their lives depend on their comprehensive understanding of every detail of the operations, repair, maintenance, and performance capabilities of the complex systems that provide breathable air, drinkable water, edible food, toxic waste removal, tolerable temperature, and the interaction of all these critical factors. If any of these systems fail, the astronauts' survival may be in jeopardy.

On spaceship Earth, we are only beginning to understand the complexity of the life support systems: what services they provide, how they work, how they are interrelated, and the environmental and economic consequences of altering these systems. Until recently, these Earth life support systems had been largely taken for granted; in the past resources were perceived so vast and robust relative to the small number of people that the impact of human activities seemed insignificant. However, as technology allowed the human population to reach into the billions, human activities are no longer inconsequential. From our current and projected perspectives, we now see that sustaining our Earth life support systems will require an unprecedented level of understanding, which in turn will require a comprehensive program for monitoring and modeling both natural and anthropogenic systems.

This seminar introduced the concept of Earth life support systems, which are more commonly referred to as ecosystem services. The afternoon consisted of presentations about the information required for the rational management of these systems and assigning economic value and accountability to them. We focused on the role NASA currently plays regarding the collection and management of environmental data from Earth observing satellites and the use of supercomputers to model current climates and ecosystems. Data visualization techniques, such as the Ames Research Center's NASA World Wind project, were presented. A panel discussion further examined critical gaps in our current understanding of Earth life support systems and how future NASA missions might help to fill these gaps.

Speakers included James Boyd (Stanford University), Bill Collins (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley), Steve Hipskind (ARC), Patrick Hogan (ARC), John Hogan (ARC), and Jonathan Trent (ARC).


+ March 11, 2008: Director’s Colloquium/GREEN Team Event by Jim Woolsey entitled Energy, Security and the Long War of the 21st Century


On Tuesday, March 11, at 2 p.m., in the Space Sciences Auditorium (N-245), Jim Woolsey presented a colloquium entitled, "Energy, Security and the Long War of the 21st Century." This event was co-sponsored by the Director's Colloquium series and the GREEN team. A wine and cheese reception followed.

ABSTRACT: Woolsey talked about two risks to our nation's security: one from terrorist attack and another from climate change. Both risks are substantially heightened by our dependence on oil and by the nature of our system for producing, distributing and using electricity. He suggested some ways to deal with both problems.

BIO: Jim Woolsey has had an impressive career in public service, including presidential appointments in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Highlights include serving as director of the CIA from 1993 to 1995 and as Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979. Currently, Woolsey is Chairman of the Advisory Boards of the Clean Fuels Foundation and the New Uses Council, and a Trustee of the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. He also serves on the National Commission on Energy Policy.


+ February 5, 2008: GREEN Team Seminar/Director’s Colloquium by William McDonough entitled Cradle to Cradle: A Celebration of Abundance


On Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m., in the Main Auditorium, (N-201) William McDonough presented a Director's Colloquium entitled "Cradle to Cradle: A Celebration of Abundance." The colloquium was co-sponsored by the GREEN Team. Following the colloquium, there was a director's reception in the lobby of building N-200.

ABSTRACT: McDonough spoke about his Cradle to Cradle philosophy and design practice. This vision of the hopeful, positive and inspiring possibilities of an environmentally and economically intelligent future by design draws inspiration from the astonishing effectiveness of natural systems. Cradle to Cradle design, as opposed to "cradle to grave," offers a new paradigm for human activity that creates a sustaining relationship with the natural world by emulating living systems that are effective, cyclical, synergetic and regenerative.

BIO: William McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet" in 1999, stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that--in demonstrable and practical ways--is changing the design of the world."

McDonough has been a leader in the sustainable development movement since its inception. He designed and built the first solar-heated house in Ireland in 1977 while still a student at Yale University, and he designed the first "green office" in the U.S. for the Environmental Defense Fund in 1985. In 2002, he and German chemist Dr. Michael Braungart co-authored "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things." McDonough is the founder of two design firms, including William McDonough + Partners, which has created numerous landmarks of the sustainability movement since 1981, designing homes, offices, corporate campuses, academic buildings, communities and cities.


+ January 15, 2008: GREEN Team Seminar Entitled The Future of Transportation: What's NASA's Role?


On January 15, 2008, a seminar entitled “The Future of Transportation: What’s NASA’s Role?” was held at NASA Ames Research Center from 1 to 4 pm.

This event was the third in a series of seminars that considered how the tools and expertise developed by NASA for the exploration of space can be applied to problems associated with sustainable energy and clean technologies on planet Earth.

This seminar started with an overview of transportation policy and our current technology roadmap for implementing the California Assembly’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32). New approaches from industry and NASA were presented, followed by a discussion period where the audience and the panel discussed ways to move forward.

Speakers included Gary Martin (ARC), Fred Keeley (Former Speaker Pro Tem, California State Assembly), Michael D. Jackson (TIAX LLC), Chris Perkins and John Cole (Unimodal), and Jonathan Trent (ARC).



+ December 6, 2007: GREEN Team Seminar Entitled Renewable Energy: What’s NASA’s Role?


On December 6, 2007, a seminar entitled “Renewable Energy: What’s NASA’s Role?” was held in the Main Auditorium (N-201) from 1 to 4 pm.

This event was the second in a series of seminars that considered how the tools and expertise developed by NASA for the exploration of space can be applied to problems associated with sustainable energy and clean technologies on planet Earth.

The afternoon consisted of lectures from an expert in renewable energy technologies, a review of NASA's historic and current roles in energy-related research, and a discussion of how NASA might contribute to renewable energy in the future. Invited speakers included Prof. Ali Shakouri (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Dr. Valerie Lyons (NASA Glenn Research Center).


+ December 5, 2007: Director’s Colloquium by Marty Hoffert Entitled Electricity From Orbit: The Case for R & D


Dr. Marty Hoffert was invited back to NASA Ames by the Global Research into Energy and the Environment at NASA (GREEN) team to present a Director’s Colloquium entitled “Electricity from Orbit: The case for R & D” on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. in the Main Auditorium.

ABSTRACT: Cost-effective space solar power (SSP)--the beaming abundant high-intensity solar power from space though atmospheric windows at laser or microwave frequencies for electric power at the surface--could be a breakthrough technology for large-scale power generation, providing highly flexible power distribution and a sustainable carbon-neutral base load for Earth. Much higher than the surface mean solar flux, continuous sunlight in space avoids otherwise cost-pacing massive storage and transmission of intermittent terrestrial solar and windpower to match electric demand curves. SSP would be markedly accelerated by experiments feasible now, some employing ISS, including orbital mirrors and microwave and laser beaming in space. Marty will describe his proposed demo of wireless power transmission from geosynchronous orbit (GEO) using diode laser transmitters in space and surface PV module receivers employing a self-deploying single launch one metric tonne satellite payload. This experiment would demonstrate continuous electric power transfer from orbit orders of magnitude greater than anything done before. With near term and "on the shelf" components, early launch opportunities, and the ISS as testbeds, near term experiments could accelerate SSP from paper studies to a real alternate energy option in as little as a three-to-five-year timeframe at relatively modest cost.

BIO: Martin I. Hoffert is Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Chair of the Department of Applied Science at New York University. He has been on the research staff of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, General Applied Science Laboratories, Advanced Technology Laboratories, Riverside Research Institute and National Academy of Sciences Senior Resident Research Associate at the NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Prof. Hoffert has published broadly in fluid mechanics, plasma physics, atmospheric science, oceanography, planetary atmospheres, environmental science, solar and winds energy conversion and space solar power. His research in alternate energy conversion includes wind tunnel and full-scale experiments on innovative wind turbines, photovoltaic generation of hydrogen, and wireless power transmission applied to solar power satellites. His present efforts focus on energy technologies that could stabilize climate change from the fossil fuel greenhouse—including (but not limited to) space solar power.


+ October 19, 2007: Global Research into Energy and the Environment at NASA (GREEN) Seminar


On October 19, 2007, a seminar entitled Global Research into Energy and the Environment at NASA (GREEN) Seminar was held at NASA Ames Research Center from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm.

This event was the first in a series of seminars that considered how the tools and expertise developed by NASA for the exploration of space can be applied to problems associated with sustainable energy and clean technologies on planet Earth. The afternoon consisted of lectures from experts in climate change and energy research.

Can lessons learned from life support, astrobiology, planetary science, systems engineering, and aerodynamics be applied to energy and environmental problems? Do we need a new “Apollo-like” program to focus attention on these problems? If so, what role should NASA play in such a program?

To address those issues, inform the NASA community about energy and environmental issues, and create connections between NASA and the energy/clean-tech community, the GREEN Team held a series of events at NASA Ames. These events included lectures by policy makers, scientists, engineers, and philosophers followed by in-depth discussions with NASA staff and an invited audience of critical thinkers from academia, government, and the private sector.

Speakers included Pete Worden (ARC), H. Peter Steeves (DePaul University), Terry Root (Stanford), Marty Hoffert (NYU), John Hogan (ARC), and Jonanthan Trent (ARC).