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A Lifetime of Geodesy and Geophysics: In Rememberence of Bill KaulaIn the early 1960's the secrets that knowledge of the Earth's gravity field would eventually reveal about the processes that govern our planet were yet to be appreciated. It was the beginning of a new science known as space geodesy, which arose at a time when most efforts were devoted to understanding how to extract precise measurements of Earth structure and motions from an orbiting spacecraft. Bill Kaula was central to that beginning and showed the way for many who were to follow, both in time and in the development of approaches most likely to yield results. Bill laid out the theory, analyzed the data, and argued strenuously for a spacecraft mission devoted to measuring gravity to make it all come true in the way he knew it really could. That mission, GRACE, was a long time coming and Bill would not see its final staging, but his influence in making it happen was everywhere. With time, the concepts for measuring the static gravity field of the Earth and terrestrial planets became well advanced, although not universally agreed upon, and certainly not by Bill, who was always eager to argue and challenge traditional methods and thinking. The extension of space geodetic techniques to the planets and the development of new techniques to measure time variations in gravity have recently brought geodesy even closer to the geophysical processes that Bill sought to understand. This presentation will contain a little geodesy, a little history, and a little reminiscing about the leader in our field.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Smith, David E. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.