Sunday, September 03, 2006

While you were on vacation....

NASA and NOAA finished off an important part of the Bush administration plan for killing off climate science. In April 2005, the National Academy Space Science Board report on earth sciences applications from space reported that it was vital to start

Evaluating plans for transferring capabilities from some cancelled or scaled-back
NASA missions to the NOAA-DOD National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite
System (NPOESS)
So what was the result of the evaluation concluded in early June?
The agencies decided to build four satellites instead of the originally planned six and drop five instruments from each satellite. They also chose to swap out an ambitious sensor called CMIS - which would measure ocean wind speeds, among other things - for a less complicated one that has yet to be developed. The scaled-back programme would cost $11.5 billion to develop and launch and would provide polar satellite coverage from 2013 to 2026.
And which sensors were dropped, oh, yes, the climate sensors

The committee also questioned the impact of losing the five instruments - three of which are meant to measure aerosols and other factors important to climate change.

Programme managers were asked whether they thought the scaled-back system would have been approved at its budget level if it had been proposed at the beginning of the programme in 1994. NASA chief Mike Griffin answered "I doubt it," and Ronald Sega, undersecretary of the Air Force, said "not in its current configuration".

But that will make no difference. Never mind, keep moving.

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