AddThis Share CONTACT: Lia Unrau PHONE: (713) 831-4793 `EARTH TODAY’ KIOSK OPENS AT MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE Up-to-the-minute NASA data about the condition of Earth and its space environment is now available to the public through “Earth Today,” a computerized kiosk, the first of its kind, developed by Rice University and the Houston Museum of NaturalScience, which premiered today. The “Earth Today” exhibit is a freestanding triple computerized display with connections to the Internet, featuring real-time imagesof solar, space and Earth weather. The kiosk features three programs, “Welcome to Planet Earth,” which highlights Earth weather and resources, with hourly global satellite weather photos, maps and forecasts; “Space Weather,” which describes the plasma environment of the Earth and shows how the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects Earth from the hazards of space; and “Houston Today,” which highlights local weather information from a school-based network of weather stations (including one at the museum). It allows users to forecast weather based on local conditions. It will also feature information about the Houston environment, provided by the Citizen’s EnvironmentalCoalition. The kiosk is part of “Creating the Public Connection,” a Rice University and Houston Museum of Natural Science program funded byan $850,000 grant from NASA.“Now the general public has very rapid access to newly released information and imagery. We have, in fact, created the first real on -line museum,” said Patricia Reiff, a Rice professor of spacephysics and astronomy and the project director. NASA recognizes that the public, who pays for the data acquisition, should have an easier time accessing it,” “At the moment we have `information elites’ who have easy access to many kinds of information over the Internet, while the general public must wait for magazines or a television special.