Eyes in the sky: Cutting NASA Earth observations would be a costly mistake

By Dan Drollette Jr | December 5, 2016

There’s a reason why space is called “the ultimate high ground,” and why our country spends billions annually on satellites and similar items. NASA’s Earth-oriented observation missions contribute vital information to many other users, including emergency planners, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, farmers, fishermen, the aviation industry—and national security

The Earth missions provide constant real-time data on the state of space weather, the atmosphere, and the oceans; such information is critical to our Navy and Defense operations worldwide.

In this fascinating post, author David Titley writes: “Six years ago, while I was serving as oceanographer of the Navy, I was asked to estimate how much more money the Navy would need to spend if we did not have our NASA and NOAA partners. The answer was, very conservatively, $2 billion per year just to maintain the capability that we had. That figure has almost certainly increased.”

He also raises a question: “If the Trump administration cuts NASA’s earth science funding, that capability will need to come from some other set of agencies. Has the new team thought seriously about which agencies should have their budgets increased to make up this gap?”

[Editor’s note: The author of the post that appeared in The Conversation, David Titley, is also on the Science and Security Board of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.]

Publication Name: The Conversation
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