06 June 2013

New White House statment on Earth Observations

When you watch the movies, you would think that outer space is crowded with satellites for measuring land use and monitoring climate change (and chasing spies in exotic sportscars). In reality, we have a shortage of earth observation satellites and the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

A recent issue of Nature reports:
Yet the long-term forecast for US Earth observations remains grim. The US government plans to launch just six satellites between 2014 and 2020, including only two of the four missions that the NRC panels deemed the most important. The other two — designed to measure long-term changes in solar radiation, ice-sheet velocities and terrestrial biomass — have been shelved indefinitely by the White House.

The White House recently acknowledged the situation with a new strategy document:
Today, the Obama Administration’s National Science and Technology Council released a National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations—a framework for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation’s Earth-observation enterprise.
Will it be enough?

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