Report warns of rapid decline in U.S. Earth observation capabilities |
02 May 2012
A new National Research Council report says that budget shortfalls, cost-estimate growth, launch failures, and changes in mission design and scope have left U.S. earth observation systems in a more precarious position than they were five years ago.
The report cautions that the nation's earth observing system is beginning a rapid decline in capability, as long-running missions end and key new missions are delayed, lost, or cancelled.
"The projected loss of observing capability will have profound consequences on science and society, from weather forecasting to responding to natural hazards," said Dennis Hartmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "Our ability to measure and understand changes in Earth's climate and life support systems will also degrade."
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Source: National Academies