The National Research Council may not be the most impartial observer but a report it’s issued on budget cuts to NASA, is stark in its alarm that observing what’s out in space is secondary now to what’s going on here.
The report finds that Earth sciences are in decline because nothing is replacing previous missions.
“The projected loss of observing capability will have profound consequences on science and society, from weather forecasting to responding to natural hazards,” Dennis Hartmann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a statement, which was outlined on LiveScience.com today. “Our ability to measure and understand changes in Earth’s climate and life support systems will also degrade.”
It appears to signal a new tack in appealing for more funding for the space agency. Merely exploring other worlds for the benefit of future generations isn’t enough to jazz up NASA’s appeal in an era of budget cuts.
Instead, its boosters seem to be appealing to that which has always had the most appeal for us: ourselves.