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!