The GOP to pass a bill that requires NASA to focus a larger portion of their funds on space exploration and away from earth science and climate change. The republicans, which are backed by the President’s administration are planning to restrict the agency from discussing issues effecting the earth, claiming that it is not the agency’s role, and that there are currently other agencies that can take over the role.
Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and he explained, “By rebalancing, I’d like for more funds to go into space exploration; we’re not going to zero out earth sciences,” “I’d like for us to remember what our priorities are, and there are another dozen agencies that study earth science and climate change, and they can continue to do that.” E&E News reported.
As it turns out, NASA’s budget of Earth Science Mission Directorate is the agency’s fastest growing budget, out of any of the other programs under NASA’s jurisdiction.
“We only have one agency that engages in space exploration, and they need every dollar they can muster for space exploration,” Smith said.
In defense of the Earth Science Mission Directorate division, a lot of the studies conducted by NASA are possible precisely because NASA is a space agency, and will not be possible if another agency will take that responsibility. For example, NASA is using a weather information gathering system, which is gathered directly through GPS satellites.
Recently NASA published an explanation on their website regarding how the weather information gathering system works. Signals from global positioning system (GPS) satellites are now being used for more than just location and navigation information. By looking at the radio waves from GPS satellites, a technology developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) not only precisely calculates its position, but can also use a technique known as radio occultation to help scientists study the Earth’s atmosphere and gravity field to improve weather forecasts, monitor climate change, and enhance space weather research.