NASA leadership visits JPL, discusses climate change and Mars

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy affirmed the agency’s commitment to studying climate change during a visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California on October 14. The visit was hosted by Acting JPL Director Larry James and also included a meeting with scientists and engineers operating the Perseverance Mars rover and Ingenuity Mars Helicopter.

Administrator Nelson hosted an Earth Science Roundtable at JPL that focused on ways scientists, engineers, resource managers and policy makers can work together to address climate challenges on our planet original. Caltech President Thomas Rosenbaum, California Representatives Judy Chu, Pete Aguilar, Julia Brownley and Ted Lieu participated in the panel discussion; Dry. of California’s natural resources. Wade Crowfoot; and California Environmental Protection Sec. Jared Blumenfeld.

“The truth is, this discussion is about saving our planet,” Nelson said. “NASA is spearheading climate change. “

At the heart of the discussion, NASA JPL’s efforts to tackle climate resilience by measuring key indicators, such as the powerful greenhouse gas methane, and tracking freshwater around the world. NASA’s assets also provide decision-makers and stakeholders with critical data on damage from natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires.

After the roundtable, NASA executives and California officials then headed to the surface mission support area that controls the operations of the Perseverance rover, which landed in Jezero de Mars crater on February 18, 2021, with an experimental helicopter strapped to its belly. Engineers and scientists at Perseverance shared details of recent rover activity in the crater-floor region dubbed “Séítah” and what they hope to discover in the ancient river delta in the distance and beyond.

JPL leaders also discussed future plans for the Mars Sample Return campaign to bring back rock and sediment samples that Perseverance is collecting to Earth for study. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter team briefed the group on their upcoming flight plans.

The tour ended with a visit to the gallery dedicated to the JPL spacecraft assembly facility, the clean room where lunar probes, orbiters sent to Jupiter and Saturn and generations of Martian rovers took shape. . Engineers and technicians assemble the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) spacecraft there. NISAR, a partnership with the Indian Space Research Organization, will track subtle changes on the Earth’s surface, offering new ways to mitigate the threat of natural hazards, better manage natural resources and understand climate change.

NISAR is part of NASA’s Earth System Observatory, a new set of Earth-centered missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, firefighting of forests and the improvement of agricultural processes in real time. The Earth System Observatory’s satellites will complement each other, working in tandem to create a holistic 3D view of the Earth, from bedrock to the atmosphere.

JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California.

For more information on NASA’s research on climate change, visit:

For more information on NASA’s missions to Mars, visit:

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