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Nominations have opened for the 2023 William T. Pecora Award, the 50th annual presentation, sponsored by the Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Nominations are due May 1, 2023, with the nomination form available here.

Dr. William Pecora, USGS Director, 1965-71
William T. Pecora served as director of the USGS from 1965 to 1971 and then as under secretary of the Department of the Interior. 

The William T. Pecora Award is given each year to an individual and a team using satellite or aerial remote sensing to make outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth’s surface, educating the next generation of scientists, informing decision makers, or supporting natural or human-induced disaster response. Anyone working in the remote sensing field may be nominated—national or international—including public and private sector individuals, teams, organizations, and professional societies.

The individual award recognizes scientific and technical remote sensing achievements, as well as contributions leading to successful practical applications. Consideration is given to sustained career achievements or singular contributions of major importance.

The group award recognizes a group that has made major breakthroughs in remote sensing science or technology or developed an innovative application affecting the user community or policies.

Pecora, a geologist, served as director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1965 to 1971 and as under secretary of the Department of the Interior from 1971 until his death in 1972. Pecora advocated for the potential of remote sensing for Earth observation and led the development of the Earth Resources Observation Systems program in 1966. He died just days before the July 23, 1972, launch of the Landsat 1 satellite, which began the fulfillment of his vision and a 50-year-plus legacy. This award, established in 1974, honors Pecora’s memory.

“The course seems clear; we must make and execute bold plans to gather data on the Earth’s resources … and to accelerate the search for natural resources,” Pecora said in 1966.

The Pecora awards continue to recognize the bold and accelerating achievements of scientists today.

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