The IEEE Los Angeles Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Chapter Present a Special Lecture Event!

How to map the Earth, or what was the Shuttle for anyway?

Dr. Michael Kobrick
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
5:30–7:30 PM

Arms Laboratory, Sharp Lecture Hall
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California

About the Talk: Remember when the world was flat? Not any more.  In February, 2000 NASA sent six astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on an 11-day mission to gather data for the first complete three-dimensional global elevation map of Earth.

The 12 terabytes of raw radar data they collected has been processed into a near-global digital elevation model with 30 meter sampling and vertical accuracy exceeding all the usual standards. The elevation information is easily the most popular and frequently downloaded data set at the land processes distribution archive, and after combining with data from other missions will form the soon to be released NASADem, a single-stop-shopping source for the best (and free!) global digital elevation data available.

Mike will describe what the Space Shuttle was originally intended for, how it evolved, and how a single good idea can turn into a mission that NASA Headquarters has called the single most important accomplishment of the Space Shuttle program.

About the Speaker: Dr. Michael Kobrick is the Project Scientist for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He holds degrees from several well-meaning institutions of higher learning, including a doctorate from UCLA in Planetary and Space Physics, and for 44 years at JPL has specialized in radar remote sensing of the Earth and planets.

Before conceiving the SRTM mission he was a Principal Investigator on numerous spaceborne radar experiments dating back to the Apollo program. He served as Science Manager for the Magellan mission to map Venus with radar, and has several thousand exciting flight hours on NASA’S DC-8 research aircraft using JPL’s airborne imaging radar system. His current research interests center on the derivation of digital topographic data from interferometric radar sensors and their geoscientific applications.

Directions and Parking: Parking on the Caltech campus is accessible from Michigan Avenue, south of Del Mar Avenue. Parking is free after 5 pm. Arms Lab location:

Reservation: Please RSVP with your IEEE membership # to You are welcome to bring your spouse as a guest. Non-members can go to, then send your membership number.

Please see the event flyer for agenda and other details.