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Mous at the Vatican

AIRS Team Leader Dr. Moustafa Chahine Presents at the Vatican

The workshop was organized around the topics of biodiversity, global hydrology, climate change, land-atmosphere interactions, and river basins & hydrologic dynamics. Mous's talk: "NASA's Measurements of Water from Space" focused on results obtained from instruments like AIRS and GRACE. Beyond the workshop, attendees were invited to a three hour Sunday mass with Pope Benedict XVI, where they were treated as guests of honor and seated near the altar. A tour of the Vatican Necropolis was also provided. During their stay, attendees where given gold medallions to wear around their necks which signified their special guest status allowing them unquestioned access to locations within Vatican City. Their accommodations at the Domus Sanctae Marthae were the same rooms the cardinals are secluded in when selecting a Pope. Comfortable but Spartan, Mous observed "The rooms are obviously designed to ensure you'll spend your time thinking!"

How does the experience of representing NASA and JPL at the Vatican measure among a lifetime of achievements? "In all of my career and life, other than the birth of my children, this has been among the greatest experiences I have known". In as distinguished a career as Mous Chahine's, that says it all.

Dr. Moustafa Chahine In the presentation room at the Casina Pio IV

When you think of events associated with the Vatican, "Science Conference" probably isn't one of them. So it may be surprising to learn the Vatican has a tradition of studying what is referred to as "specific natural emergencies", and one of JPL's own was recently invited to participate in a workshop on the state of water resources around the world. Dr. Moustafa Chahine, or "Mous", was one of 15 international participants invited to speak last month at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 'Working Group on Water and the Environment', which took place in November at the Casina Pio IV inside Vatican City. The goal of the workshop was to discuss the scientific frontiers of the main environmental issues related to the impact of hydrologic dynamics on sustainable development.

At mass with Pope Benedict XVI