P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


November 2014 30th Year of Publication


November 10
Please note the luncheon is Monday, not Tuesday, which is Veterans’ Day.
Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenbelt American Legion Post #136 at 6900 Greenbelt Road. Reservations are required due to our change of venue, so please contact Alberta Moran either on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at no later than noon on Thursday November 6th. Our speaker will be Pamela Conrad, Deputy Investigator of the Sample Analysis on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity. Her presentation is entitled “Measuring the Habitability of Mars: Update from the MSL Mission.”
January 13 Mark your calendar for the first GRAA Luncheon of 2015. Our speaker will be GRAA member Tom Riley. His presentation is entitled, “The Big Moon Dig.” We will post additional information in the Holiday newsletter.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. Robert Cahalan, GRAA member and Director of Sun-Climate Research at Goddard, provided a detailed briefing entitled, “The Sun, the Moon, and Earth’s Energy Surplus”, at the October luncheon. He showed data from multiple Sun and Earth observing satellites as well as ground-based measurements to illustrate global warming, especially over the past 30 years (+0.6 degrees Celsius). Three separate scientific groups made measurements and verified this increase. Temperature measurements over the entire Earth are now continually taken. The data demonstrates more solar energy coming into the Earth than going out, but also that the Sun’s input is virtually unchanged over this period. Therefore, although the Sun is responsible for climate change, it is not the driving factor for global warming. The problem is the atmosphere’s ability to cool is changing and that is caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide, and to a lesser extent methane, in the atmosphere, which traps the heat. Volcanic eruptions also contribute. Although carbon dioxide in the atmosphere varies on a cyclic basis between vegetation growing (lower) and decaying (higher), it has doubled over the past 35 years. Another indication of the Earth temperature rising trend can be found when comparing the El Nino and La Nina cycles of Pacific Ocean temperatures over the period 1980 to 2010. Low temperature La Nina is now higher than high temperature El Nino was forty years ago. Try not to panic, but Dr. Cahalan stated the Sun’s effectiveness on the Earth will cease in 4.5 billion years (plus or minus 50 million years) and before then, over time, will heat up the Earth and kill all life. In conclusion, current data shows that 2014 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history.

BARNEY & BEA REC CENTER REOPENS IN NOVEMBER: Nancy Abell (Associate Center Director) and Pam Guzzone (GEWA Operations Manager) described, with photos, the refurbishment that has been done to the Barney Rec Center, including new flooring, the interior painted, an upgraded audio system, bar stools, and two large screen TVs. There will be no onsite caterer, but the cafeteria contractor is available to cater functions (including beer and wine). A part-time manager will be onsite (10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, to help set up tables and chairs, audio/visual equipment, etc. and to oversee clean-up. There will no longer be a $75 usage fee, but there will be a refundable $50 deposit to cover damages.

NEW GRAA TREASURER APPOINTED: Jackie Gasch has been appointed by the GRAA Board of Directors to fulfill Bob Wigand’s term as GRAA Treasurer. Thanks, Jackie, for taking on this important responsibility.

TREASURER’S REPORT: New Treasurer Jackie Gasch received tax-deductible contributions from the following: Elaine Blazosky, Sandra Brown (in memory of Paul Villone), Ila and Robert Burnell (in memory of Bob Keefe), Enid Chandler (in memory of Arthur Chandler), Arthur Jackson, John Lahzun, William Mack, Werner Neupert, William Redisch, and George Smith.

RECENT RETIREES: Sandra Bruce, Deborah Clark, Thomas Duvall, Jr., Yury Flom, Angela Grant, Maggie Hagen, Donald Hawkins, William Heaps, Hampapuram Ramapriyan, and Carolina Ridgeway.

COSMIC BACKGROUND EXPLORER (COBE) 25th ANNIVERSARY PARTY: A 25th Anniversary party to celebrate the launch of COBE will be held on November 18th in the Building 8 Auditorium from 3:30 to 9:00 pm at a cost of $30.00. It will be a fabulous event, with good company, delicious food, and several COBE-related talks. There will be hors d’oeuvres, dinner, beer and wine. If interested in attending, please contact Eileen Barnes at 301-286-5770 or as soon as possible for details. [NOTE: She will need a check for your ticket and your contact information postmarked no later than November 5th].

THOUGHT FOR NOVEMBER: The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.


•  Vincent L. Arillo, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on October 3rd. He was an Engineering Technician at Goddard who, over time, worked in the Spacecraft Technology Division, Office of Space Science & Technology Operations; the same division in the Technology Directorate; the Electronics Division of the Space Applications & Technology Directorate; and the Instrument Division of the Engineering Directorate.

•  Gary K. Davis, of Brookeville, MD, passed away on September 26th. He was an Honorary GRAA Member who was an Engineer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During his 37-year career at NOAA, he forged close and longstanding collaborations with NASA Goddard colleagues on shared NASA/NOAA missions. He oversaw the development and launching of 32 satellites, all of which advanced the ability to monitor and predict environmental conditions and weather forecasting.

•  Edward J. Eisele, Jr., of Stoughton, WI, passed away September 20th. He was an Engineer at Goddard who worked in the Office of Tracking & Data Systems; the STADAN Operations Division of the Tracking & Data Systems Directorate; and the Network Operations Division of the Networks Directorate. He was Station Director of the STADAN Station in Fairbanks, AK, for 20 years.

•  Otto E. Hildebrand, of Stevensville, MD, passed away on October 10th. He worked in the Plant Operations & Maintenance Division of the Administration & Management Directorate, as a Building Engineer for the Building 3/13/14 complex for several years and then became an Inspector in the Facilities Engineering Division of the Management Operations Directorate.

•  Robert “Bob” E. Kidwell, Jr., of Chestertown, MD, passed away October 9th. He was an Aerospace Engineer at Goddard whose focus was the development of thermal physics and temperature controls for spacecraft. During his career, he worked in the Office of Space Science & Satellite Applications; the Spacecraft Technology Division of the Technology Directorate; and the Engineering Physics Division of the Space Applications & Technology Directorate.

•  Bradford Torain, of Brookeville, MD, passed away on August 20th. He was a Communications Engineer at Goddard and served in numerous progressively responsible assignments. During his career, he worked in the NASA Communications Division of the Manned Flight Support, Networks, Mission Operations & Data Systems, and Management Operations Directorates. At the time of his passing, he was serving as Associate Director of the Information Technology & Communications Directorate.

NIMBUS 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION : The theme of the Nimbus 50th Anniversary Celebration on October 8th at the Visitor Center was “Significant Earth Science Contributions and Benefits to Society.” Speakers covered Earth observations from the beginning with Nimbus and TIROS to current weather and Earth observing satellites and explained how weather forecasting, knowledge of the atmospheric and ocean constituents, and search and rescue has expanded over the past 50 years.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN NOVEMBER: Twenty-five years ago, on November 18, 1989, a Delta rocket launched the Explorer 66/COBE satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. COBE was a satellite dedicated to cosmology and its goals were to investigate the cosmic microwave background of the universe and provide measurements that would help shape our understanding of the cosmos. Instrument operations were terminated December 23, 1993. As of January 1994, engineering operations concluded, after which operation of the spacecraft was transferred to Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) for use as a test satellite. COBE’s instruments provided evidence/affirmation of the “Big Bang” theory and provided the basis for the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics shared by Dr. John Mather of Goddard and Dr. George Smoot of the University of CA Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

WFF PREPARING FOR ANOTHER LAUNCH TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS): On October 16th, WFF personnel moved Orbital’s Cygnus cargo carrier to the Horizontal Integration Facility where it is being mated to the Antares rocket. The launch is currently scheduled for no earlier than 6:44 p.m. on October 27th, pending an assessment of damage that may have occurred in Bermuda from Hurricane Gonzalo. A tracking facility there is required for the Antares launch to the ISS.