NASA Announces Software of the Year Award Winners

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2005


NASA selected two teams to receive the agency's Software of the Year Award. A team from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., was recognized for their "Land Information System Software (LIS) V4.0; and a team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (ASE) software.

"This software is a great asset, as NASA pursues the Vision for Exploration. As we return to the moon and on to Mars, these types of software will aid us in our exploration and scientific discoveries," said NASA's acting Chief Engineer Gregory Robinson.

The LIS software is a high-performance land surface modeling and data assimilation system. LIS realistically predicts the water and energy cycles, including runoff, evaporation from plants and soil, and heat storage in the ground. This enables observation-driven modeling to help revolutionize the nation's weather and climate forecasting systems.

The LIS has helped advance NASA's software engineering principles and practices, while promoting portability, interoperability and scalability. LIS is being used by the science teams for the orbiting Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and the Aqua satellites.

The ASE software enables a science-driven autonomous spacecraft to increase its science return by two orders of magnitude. ASE is a new approach to space exploration. Instead of relying on ground operations, a spacecraft can respond autonomously to detected science events. It provides onboard decision making by the spacecraft.

It accomplishes this efficiency by autonomously detecting and tracking dramatic environmental events on Earth, such as volcanic eruptions, floods, and wild fires. The ASE software has been successfully used on the Earth Observing One (EO-1) Mission.

The two winners were chosen from nominations from NASA centers. NASA began the competition in 1994. It was designed to reward outstanding software at the agency. Eligible software must have NASA intellectual property interest, be of commercial grade, be available to appropriate commercial users or dedicated to a NASA mission.

Selection criteria:

  • Science & technology significance of the software and its impact on NASA's mission
  • The extent of potential use
  • The usability of the software
  • The quality factors considered in the software
  • Intellectual property factors, such as patents and copyrights
  • Innovation of the software

For information about the Software of the Year award on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

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