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August 16, 2010

Rebecca Strecker, NASA News Chief
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
(228) 688-3249

DEVELOP Students at Stennis Focus on Oil Spill

DEVELOP students at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center put their knowledge of remote sensing and access to NASA technology to use this summer to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

DEVELOP is a NASA Science Mission Directorate Applied Sciences training and development program. Students work on Earth science research projects, mentored by science advisors from NASA and partner agencies and extend research results to local communities.

The Stennis students partnered with DEVELOP students at NASA's Langley Research Center (VA) to form a Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response team. The DEVELOP team engaged in research using NASA technology to track the extent of the oil spill and to study how sea surface temperatures are being affected by the changing conditions.

The team also created a fact sheet to explain NASA's contributions to the oil spill response. The fact sheet includes images from satellites that show the impact of the spill on sea surface temperatures, air quality and vegetation.

"With the oil spill disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, this summer's DEVELOP students had a chance to make immediate, practical use of their training," said Cheri Miller, DEVELOP manager at Stennis Space Center. "They are helping people understand what NASA has to offer as the Gulf Coast recovers from this oil spill disaster." Students are sharing this information with local communities addressing coastal management issues resulting from the oil spill. For instance, DEVELOP students attended a recent Gulf of Mexico Alliance workshop. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a regional partnership of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and 13 federal agencies, including NASA, focused on enhancing the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico region.

In addition to their oil spill work, this summer's DEVELOP students at Stennis conducted four projects – analyzed the effects of sugarcane burning on air quality and public health in Louisiana; researched the impact of El Nino on water resources for Florida agriculture; investigated the ability of NASA satellites to predict air quality near Hawaii volcanoes; and evaluated the ability of NASA satellites to accurately measure hurricane wind speeds.

For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/.

For information about Stennis education programs, visit: http://education.ssc.nasa.gov/.

For information about Applied Science work at Stennis, visit: http://www.coastal.ssc.nasa.gov/.


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