Resmothering the Satellites
Bush admin shows no love for environmental satellites
In these troubled fiscal times, America has to make difficult budgetary choices. Of course the Bush tax cuts are off-limits. But what else could we do without? Here’s a thought: how about the network of environmental satellites that gather data on weather and climate? Those seem like dead weight; “climate” is so 2004. Indeed, NASA’s proposed 2007 budget requests only $2.2 billion for the beleaguered program that supports the orbiting sky-eyes — against, say, $6.2 billion for running the space shuttle and International Space Station, or $4 billion for developing missions to the moon and Mars. NASA has delayed a new generation of weather satellites until 2010 or later. “The system of environmental satellites is at risk of collapse,” says one expert federal adviser. In mid-February, NASA administrator Michael Griffin told the House Science Committee that the agency had to “set priorities” in the face of low funding. Mars, bitches!