Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


September 2009 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 25th Year of Publication



September 8

Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so call Alberta Moran at 301-890-0544 no later than noon on Friday, September 4th. Center Director Rob Strain will provide an assessment of Goddard after being on board for a year.


September 27 (Sunday)

Sign up for GRAA's “Let's Go to the Races Day” at Charlestown Races and Slots. Starting at 10:00 a.m. from the Visitor Center for the price of $75, payable at the time of reservation, the trip includes bus fare and driver tip; light refreshments on the bus, a bountiful brunch; track admission; racing program; Barney's treasured handicaps; and return to GSFC after the last race, arriving back at the Visitor Center about 7:00 p.m. Reservations are limited, so call Alberta at 301-890-0544 (or on her cell phone at 301-910-0177) for more information and/or to make reservations.


October 13


Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.


December 11 (Friday)

Sign up for the annual “Magic of a Musical Christmas” trip to Lancaster, PA. This year's excursion is only $99, payable at the time of reservation. Starting at 9:00 a.m. from the Visitor Center, included will be opportunities for holiday shopping at the Rockvale Square outlet stores; the 2009 Holiday Jubilee show (first/second row seating) at the American Music Theater; a delicious Prime Rib Buffet at Arthur's Restaurant; and arrival back at the Rec Center about 9:30 p.m. There will be refreshments on the bus, including Barney's famous Bloody Marys. For additional information or to make reservations, call Alberta Moran soon at her number above. No refunds will be available unless reserved tickets can be resold.



COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT:  Dr. Claire Parkinson, Goddard Climatologist and Aqua (EOS-PM) Project Scientist, provided members an excellent overview at the August luncheon of how satellites are being utilized to collect information relative to climate change and how that data is being interpreted.  She began her presentation by describing many of the 17 NASA satellites providing much of the current climate change data, including a general description of the orbits, levels of the atmosphere observed, and the types of available instruments to obtain data from the atmosphere; the Earth and the incoming energy from the Sun, and how that energy is reflected (even from ice) or retained on or about the Earth, which she referred to as the “heat budget.” Dr. Parkinson explained complex measurements and issues in a manner attendees could readily understand and help increase their interest in climate-related topics such as:

-  The heat (or energy) budget and how it fluctuates year-to-year;

-  Melting glaciers affect sea level, but melting sea ice does not;

-  The hole in the ozone layer and how effective the 1987 Montreal Protocol has been in helping reduce the growth in its size, even though the gradual cumulative increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues;

-  How wind and sea temperatures affect weather and how long-term effects impact climate;

- About one third of the ice from the Ice Age remains in Greenland and the Arctic. If that ice were to melt, the Earth's sea level would rise approximately 70 meters, covering most land masses with water. Even a few more inches of water could dramatically impact coastal areas and islands, especially in the Pacific Ocean; and

-  How the gravity gradient changes over the Earth and how the fluctuations in gravity change the speed of orbiting objects like satellites, enabling the GRACE satellite to measure ice shield density and providing climatologists a new method with which to measure related elements of climate change.


Dr. Parkinson stated there are valid reasons for differing points of view on global warming.  In the recent past there has been a larger loss of ice in the Northern Hemisphere, balanced somewhat by a small increase in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Earth exhibits a slow increase in temperature.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.




         Anthony (Tony) J. Bello, of Lanham, MD, passed away on August 7th.  He was a Mechanical Designer in the Mechanical Integration and Design Branch.

         Michael R. Daniel, of Bowie, MD, passed away on August 7th while vacationing in South Carolina. Still employed at the time of his passing, he had worked in the Planning Office of the Facilities Management Division and was currently serving as Goodard's Real Property Officer and Space Utilization Officer.

         Araminta (Minnie) I. Lewis, of Henderson, NC, passed away on July 20th.  She worked in the Information Management Division.

         Jerrold (Jerry) S. Linnekin, of St. James City, FL, passed away on August 3rd as a result of a battle with cancer.  He worked in the Mission Operations Computing Division.

         Gregory P. Parks, of Parksley, VA, passed away on July 24th.  Still employed at the time of his passing, he was a Balloon Specialist in the Mechanical Systems Branch at the Wallops Flight Facility.

         Joseph S. Stephenson, of Westminster, MD, passed away on May 21st as a result of a long battle with cancer. He was an Electronics Lab Technician in the Sounding Rocket Branch.


TREASURER'S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members:  Dave Douds, Reginald Ford, Gene Guerny, H. K. Lee, John Pandelides, and Bill Schoene.  We also received a $45.00 rebate from Verizon due to a member signing up for its services.             


FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN SEPTEMBER:  On September 18, 1959, a Vanguard rocket launched Vanguard 3, a satellite designed to measure the Earth's magnetic field, solar X-ray radiation, and the near-earth micrometeoroid environment.  Although the mission duration was only 84 days, the satellite has an expected orbital lifetime of 300 years.  Congratulations are in order for its 50th Anniversary!

MEMORIES FROM YESTERYEAR:  At the Nimbus 1 press conference in 1964, William (Bill) Nordberg, Nimbus Project Scientist, was quoted as saying, “The future meteorological satellite program will move from cloud mapping to measuring parameters of the atmosphere such as temperature profiles, pressure and winds. We will put all of these parameters into a model and run it in a huge computer to grind out predictions of what the weather is going to be.” From the quality of our weather forecasts, those computers must still be grinding away!

NASA'S FUTURE IN QUESTION?: The latest news from NASA's Norm Augustine Panel can be read at the following link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/13/AR2009081302244.html.

RETIRING MARTY DAVIS:  It's hard to imagine Marty Davis being shy and retiring, but at least he has accomplished the latter.  His retirement party is scheduled from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on September 25th at the Rec Center.There will be hors d'oeuvres, hamburgers and hot dogs, beer, wine, soda, water and more. Tickets are $18.00, so if you'd like to attend, please contact Helen Sullivan at 301-286-9177. Alberta Moran will also have tickets available to sell at the September GRAA Luncheon.  Donations will also be accepted for a gift for Marty.