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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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CAS Scientists Named to Landsat Satellite Team

November 8th, 2012

At 40 years old, the Landsat program is the longest running satellite imaging program on (or above) Earth. In advance of the next Landsat spacecraft launch, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced the selection of the Landsat Science Team.

The 24-member team includes two CAS scientists, each with his own expertise. Assistant Professor of Earth & Environment Robert Kennedy will use time-series approaches to improve Landsat’s characterization of land surface dynamics. Kennedy’s research involves using remote sensing to observe ecosystem and landscape changes over time. Meanwhile, Chair of Earth & Environment Curtis Woodcock will improve the ways that Landsat monitors land cover type, condition, and change. His research involves a range of topics including forest cover and urbanization.

This expert team of scientists and engineers will serve a five-year term, from 2012-2017, and provide technical and scientific input to USGS and NASA on issues critical to the success of the Landsat program.

“Landsat is a versatile tool that is used by farmers, scientists, and city planners,” said Matt Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change.  “In fact, it’s used by a broad range of specialists to assess some of the world’s most critical issues — the food, water, forests, and other natural resources needed for a growing world population. This team will help the Landsat program reach its highest potential.”

Since 1972, the United States has acquired and maintained a unique, continuous record of the global land surface. This impartial record has become indispensable for detecting and monitoring natural and human-induced changes to the Earth’s landscape.

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), which will become Landsat 8 following launch in February 2013, is designed to extend Landsat’s comprehensive global record for at least five years.

“The team will form a science vanguard in advancing the analysis and application of Landsat data for science and resource management,” said Jim Irons, LDCM Project Scientist for NASA. “Their guidance will be invaluable as we plan for the long term future of the Landsat program.”

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