Report | Visit of the NASA Earth Science Division Director Michael H. Freilich

Dr. Michael H. Freilich visits GFZ (photo: M. Kacmarik, GFZ)

The director of NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD), Michael H. Freilich, has visited GFZ on 12 October to discuss the status of the joined NASA-GFZ satellite mission GRACE Follow-on and possible future collaborations.

Freilich presented numerous examples of already launched or planned satellite missions and related science till 2023. Additionally, Freilich introduced the new NASA Decadal Survey Program which now prioritizes observation topics rather than specific missions. An example is 'Mass Change' observation, which is one of the top five designated Observing System Priorities for NASA in the next decade.

Observing changes in mass distribution within and between the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, ground water, and ice sheets enables numerous science applications. GRACE Follow-on is part of this observational topic. For this tandem satellite mission the distance between two satellites is monitored with high-precision to measure changes in Earth’s gravity field. (ak)

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