March 22, 2006

MSU to Help Develop Earth Science Database

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi State University has received a $9.6 million federal grant to help NASA develop a more accessible Earth science research database.

MSU's GeoResources Institute will help build a computerized, one-stop data resource and a system that can be used more quickly.

"We are using high-performance computing, remote sensing, rapid prototyping, geographic information systems, global positioning systems and 3-D landscaping visualization capabilities that will come together in a very complementary way," said GRI director David Shaw, co-principal investigator for the grant.

"They are looking for a data system that will be globally accessible, globally searchable - sort of a 'Google' for NASA research. At the end of the two-year grant period, we expect to have this system fully stood up and operational," he said.

The University of Mississippi's Geoinformatics Center and a team from the Stennis Space Center comprised of the Institute for Technology Development and Science Systems and Applications Inc. also are working on the project.

Earth system science is the study of how the Earth works as a system of continents, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life. It is based on the ability to measure key parameters and integrate that knowledge into Earth system models.

NASA officials say the Earth science community is now at a time of unprecedented recognition of the need for global observations - via satellites, manned spacecraft, airplanes, balloons, and other sensor tracking systems- to feed data into advanced decision tools for holistic, near and long-range decision-making.