This article discusses the new NASA Chief’s change of heart on climate change, with the result being that science on climate change will continue.
For the past 2 years, climate science at NASA has been on edge, as several missions in development—or already flying in space—have been targeted for elimination by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. But a change may be coming next year, according to Jim Bridenstine, a former Republican representative from Oklahoma who survived a long and partisan nomination fight to win confirmation, 6 weeks ago, to the agency’s top job.
The Trump administration’s first two budget requests to Congress have targeted a range of NASA earth science projects for elimination. They include:
- the Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10 million research program that the administration ended prior to Bridenstine’s arrival;
- two Earth-facing instruments on the Deep Space Climate Observatory; and
- three climate-focused missions, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3), the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder, and the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite.
So far, Congress has taken a dim view of the proposals. A House of Representatives spending panel recently moved to revive the CMS, and lawmakers have rejected the other proposed cuts after broad public outcry.