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The Future of U.S. Earth Science Space Missions:
UCAR President Issues Statement on National Research Council Assessment

April 27, 2005

BOULDER—The National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) issued a report today on the scientific and societal value of NASA's Earth science missions. The report emphasizes the challenges still ahead in understanding life on Earth and highlights urgent investment needs, including resumption of cancelled or delayed space missions as well as long-term investment in research and the technology to support it.

Richard Anthes
Richard Anthes (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

"What we don't know about our own planet far exceeds what we do," says Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Anthes co-chairs the NRC committee that produced Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Applications to Serve the Nation. Berrien Moore III (University of New Hampshire) is the other chair.

In published comments on the release of the report, Anthes wrote:

  Our ability to influence the Earth system means that we are active participants in the changing Earth rather than passive observers. The human influences may be relatively minor and benign for some time, or they might suddenly trigger great perturbations to our natural support systems, with devastating impacts on our lives and civilization. We can speculate about the likelihood of these two extremes and an infinite number of scenarios in between, but the fact is we just don't know enough to say how Earth will evolve and how we must adjust to the inevitable changes.

The full report is available from the National Academies Web site.

NCAR director, other experts testify

A panel of experts, including Dr. Moore and NCAR director Timothy Killeen, testified before the House Committee on Science on April 28, 2005, on the impact of NASA budget cuts on the nation's capacity for forecasting, storm warning, management of agriculture and natural resources, and research for the future.

Statements by the expert witnesses and committee chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) are available, as well as an archived webcast of the hearings, on the NASA Earth Sciences—Full Committee Hearing page of the House Committee on Science Web site.


 Related sites on the World Wide Web 

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Full Committee Hearing - NASA Earth Sciences - House Committee on Science

The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors.

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