Beyond Bridge Neglect; Earth Neglect
Climatesciencewatch.org has a piece on how NASA is cutting back on the programs necessary to monitor global warming in favor of a greater emphasis on space travel.
Changing the mission: NASA Climate Change Science Program budget has been cut by 22% since 2004
“We have always believed that satellite-based observing systems and related scientific research — what NASA used to call the “Mission to Planet Earth” — was by far the most important part of the agency’s budget. Earth science has made up a tenth or less of the total NASA budget — far less than what is spent on activities related to human space flight. But it makes an essential contribution to the overall national and international scientific research effort on climate and global environmental change.”
NASA’s changing priorities makes sense in light of the perspective of its administrator, Michael Griffin, who feels it is imperative that American cultural values dominate space — even if the earth becomes uninhabitable?
Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator. 2005. “Remarks for American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2005 Conference & Exhibition.” August 31, 2005.
<“The human imperative to explore and settle new lands will be satisfied, by others if not by us. Humans will explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. It’s simply a matter of which humans, when, what values they will hold, and what languages they will speak, what cultures they will spread. What the United States gains from a robust program of human space exploration is the opportunity to carry the principles and values of western philosophy and culture along on the absolutely inevitable outward migration of humanity into the solar system and, eventually, beyond. These benefits are tangible and consequential. It matters what the United States chooses to do, or not to do, in space.”
[This text seems to have been removed from NASA’s web site. Guess why?]