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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 13, 1998
                         VICE PRESIDENT GORE 

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore proposed today that NASA scientists and engineers design, build and operate a satellite that will make available a live image of earth 24 hours a day on the Internet.

In a speech at the National Innovation Summit at MIT, the Vice President proposed that NASA launch a new micro satellite that will provide live images of the earth from space by the year 2000. This satellite will depict the motions of changing clouds, the advance of hurricanes, large-scale fires in oil fields or forests and other phenomena at the precise moment they occur.

"This new satellite, called Triana, will allow people around the globe to gaze at our planet as it travels in its orbit around the sun for the first time in history," Vice President Gore said. "With the next millennium just around the corner, developing this High Definition TV quality image of the full disk of the continuously lit Earth and making it available 24 hours a day on the Internet will awaken a new generation to the environment and educate millions of children around the globe.

This new space craft will be carried into low earth orbit where a small motor will place it in orbit 1 million miles from earth at the L1 point (short for the Lagrangian libration point), the point between the earth and sun where gravitational attractions are balanced. The satellite will carry a small telescope and camera to provide these new compelling images.

In the history of space exploration there are only a few photographs of the full earth that have resonated with the public. Christmas 1968 was an epiphany for many Americans, when they first saw the image "Earth Rising." It is considered one of the fundamentally profound images of this century. Another photograph, "The Blue Marble" taken in 1972 during Apollo 17, began an era of global awareness.

These images of the earth moved thousands of Americans and encouraged them to become active stakeholders in our planet's wellbeing, Vice President Gore said. As we connect all our classrooms to the Internet, we have the opportunity to bring new education and potential scientific projects as well as global weather observations to millions of American classrooms and living rooms via television and computer.