NASA chief signals reprieve for endangered climate missions

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.

Comments are closed.