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10.3.06

LANDSAT Goes Broke

This is a frightening story about the fragile state of our weather and environmental monitoring satellites. Years of under-funding have put our continued access to remote sensing in deep trouble. NASA's priorities are a bit skewed as well:

NASA officials say that tight budgets tie their hands, forcing them to cut all but the most vital programs. The agency's proposed 2007 budget request contains $2.2 billion for satellites that observe the Earth and sun, compared to $6.2 billion for operating the space shuttle and International Space Station and $4 billion for developing future missions to the moon and Mars.


I realize that space travel is more "cool" than having a constant stream of LANDSAT images. And I realize that we have to colonize other planets because in a few million years the sun will expand and destroy the earth. However, hurricanes and deforestation are happening now, so you'll have to excuse me if I can't muster up much enthusiasm for keeping the dollars flowing to Mars exploration.

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