The Meteorological Range Safety Support System/Eastern Range Dispersion Assessment System (MARSS/ERDAS) is a system of interconnected computer workstations designed to acquire, process, and disseminate nearly real-time meteorological data and outputs of mathematical models of the atmospheric diffusion of toxic and otherwise hazardous substances. The MARSS/ERDAS hardware and software were developed to increase the effectiveness of NASA and Air Force range safety personnel. The basic MARSS/ERDAS concept could be adapted to industrial, agricultural, and scientific applications in which there are requirements to forecast weather to protect weather-sensitive assets and/or predict the movements of toxic plumes.

Prior to the development of the MARSS/ERDAS, the forecasting and mathematical modeling functions in question were performed, variously, by use of manual techniques or by use of central processors with asynchronous communications to remote sites. The manual processes required additional personnel for a number of tasks that were highly repetitive and the results of manual processing often included errors. The prior computer system was easily overloaded by user activities, and display updates were slow, because of both the load on the system and a slow communication link. Users were often disconnected and had to wait several minutes for reconnection.

The MARSS/ERDAS features a reliable, expandable, and flexible hardware and software architecture.The software incorporates a program that implements a mesoscale meteorological model integrated with a program that implements toxic-diffusion-prediction algorithms. More specifically, the software incorporates the following programs: Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), Isentropic Analysis (ISAN), Hybrid Particle and Concentration Transport (HYPACT). The system also enables local execution of the REEDM and BLASTX programs. Data displays can include graphics, text, and map overlays. The system can also be made to perform an expert-system meteorological-monitoring function that includes the generation of audible and visible alerts when specified meteorological constraints are violated.

This work was done by John Warburton, Greg E. Taylor, Allan V. Dianic, and Erik Magnuson of ENSCO, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to

Mr. Allan V. Dianic


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Refer to KSC-12178, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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