Deteriorating Ability of USA’s Earth observation

satellite A report released by the US National Academies shows that scientist ability to observe the climate changes, natural hazards, and the general earth surface has tremendously reduced. The national research council has attributed this to slow replacement process of aging satellites that their functionality is wanting. This is awake up call that if not checked would immensely impact negatively reducing the scientist ability and performance to twenty five percent in 2020. The survey completed in the year 2007 was prove that the earth observation programs were nearly obsolete, although NASA has strived to ensure that the recommendations put forward by the committee have been adhered to set backs always arose including cancellation of programs and delays of missions, in some circumstances new missions lost.

There are achievements that NASA has attained despite facing challenges in implementing the vision, the topography mission that was launched in 2008 to monitor sea level rise and climate change successfully sent first monthly images, this was a forward step in realizing some of their goals. Another project that is deemed to be performing better kicked off in the year2011 to improve short-term weather forecast is currently bridging data to concur with the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOSAA) joint Polar Satellite system program to be launched in 2016. Antonio Busalacchi an insider in the operatives of these ventures noted that due to lack of money the vision might not be in place by 2020 although successful initial steps have been made.

The expected annual budget of two billion dollars that is able to handle these projects has not been realized since the year 2007, instead only less than 1.5 billion is allocated to cover the costs of the research that is needed to make it succeed. This is not enough to cater for even the expensive scientific equipment needed in all the projects, due to the prevailing economic conditions prices have been on the rise limiting the amount of work that can be done. To leverage the escalating costs the committee is considering cost caps and looking at the mission from an angle of a total package rather than separate undertakings. This will eventually increase the chances of attaining the laid down goals much faster, and while the project is viewed with the general befit that it will bring at the end to accomplish the stated overall objective, Individual budgeting for the projects becomes less beneficial to the whole program.

The survey results presumed that environmental satellites managed by NOAA would have complemented the flotilla operated by NASA, however with the prevailing monetary issues that were facing NOAA including budget cuts, the mission failed to materialize as expected. Basing on the current circumstances the committee hopes to bring to light the urgency of having overreaching national strategies for Earth observation that will ensure better cooperation and facilitation. To develop these strategies are responsibilities of powers beyond NOAA and NASA they are to be developed at the office of science and technology with supervision from the white house.

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