NOAA 2002-059
Contact: Kent Laborde
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The extreme environments and otherworldly realms of sea and space may appear to have little in common but their surprising similarities have prompted NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to jointly host a gathering of sea and space professionals. The goal is to improve collaboration between the agencies to enhance the nation's exploration capabilities.

The three-day working symposium, LINK 2002, will be held at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., May 20-22, 2002, and will involve some 100 sea and space professionals from government, industry and non-profit organizations. They will build on existing NOAA-NASA partnerships, promote the excitement of exploration on the frontiers of sea and space, and provide a mechanism for both communities to share ideas and collaborate on common technology development interests.

Support for the event comes from NASA's Oceanography Program and NOAA's recently created Office of Ocean Exploration. The conference is named after Edwin Link, a pioneering American inventor and researcher in aeronautics and ocean engineering.

Framing the context for LINK 2002, Scott B. Gudes, deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, said, "NOAA and NASA have similar difficulties in reaching the extreme environments they explore. We are working on the same technologies, but on parallel tracks. The Link Symposium is the perfect opportunity to bring all of the players together. We share what we have done, what we know and what we can do. But just as important, we share our biggest puzzles and try to help each other solve them."

"Today, we study the Earth as a whole system. Oceanography on a global basis is made possible by being able to observe the ocean from space," said Dr. Ghassem R. Asrar, NASA associate administrator for the Earth Science Enterprise. "The deep ocean and the deep sea are both extreme environments into which we send humans and machines. Oceanographers can benefit from the experience and technology of space exploration. Space exploration scientists can apply the lessons of deep sea exploration to the analogous extreme environment of space. This conference provides an opportunity to put the two communities together to build relationships and learn from one another."

In addition to the conference's plenary and technical sessions and working groups attended by the sea and space professionals, the symposium also will highlight educational and outreach efforts such as the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's national remotely operated vehicle competition for high school and college students. The MATE Center's mission is to help prepare America's work force for marine-related occupations.

NASA's Oceanography Program supports LINK 2002 as part of the Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort dedicated to understanding and protecting our home planet. Through the study of Earth, NASA provides sound science to policy and economic decision makers to improve life here on Earth while developing the technologies needed to explore the universe and search for live beyond our home planet. To learn move about NASA's Earth Science Enterprise see

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

To learn more about NOAA, visit

For more information on the Link Symposium, visit

NOTE: Media attendance of any LINK 2002 activity requires advance accreditation and registration. To register or request an interview slot contact Mark Ward, 407-254-0840,

For event highlights and coverage guidelines see