January 17, 2007
Earth monitoring satellites about to be kaput, NASA kills "understanding" the earth from mission statement, Dubya cackles with glee
-- by Thomas Leavitt
It has been a while since I've posted, but the item below just demanded that I draw attention to it. Apparently, Bush and the Republican Congress have allowed the nation's earth monitoring satellite infrastructure to degrade to an alarming degree, such that one critical tool used to forcast hurricanes and the El Nino phenomenon "could become inoperable at any time", and that without action, pretty much the entire system could vanish from the sky by the end of the next decade, according to a report issued by the National Research Council on Monday. Even if the recommendations of this report are followed, the number of active "missions" will fall from 29 to 17 by 2020.
Why would the folks governing our society be so irresponsible? Perhaps because the data produced are politically inconvenient... you'll recall that earlier this year, NASA eliminated the promise "to understand and protect our home planet" from its mission statement. Prominent NASA scientist and global warming expert James Hansen stated to the New York Times that ""They're [the Bush Administration] making it clear that they ... prefer that NASA work on something that's not causing them a problem."
Well, certainly, those pesky scientists aren't going to create any "problems" if they have no data to work with.
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