"Lights Out for Research Satellites?"

"Earth-observing systems operated by the United States have entered a steep decline, imperiling the nation’s monitoring of weather, natural disasters and climate change, a report from the National Research Council warned on Wednesday."

"Long-running and new missions are frequently delayed, lost or cancelled because of budget cuts, launch failures, disorganization and changes in mission design and scope, the report said.

In 2007, the research council, the working arm of the National Academies, issued a report highlighting research imperatives for the next decade and beyond for NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Geological Survey, including the renewal of the Earth observations program. (The report issued on Wednesday was commissioned by NASA as a midterm assessment.)

Although NASA responded favorably to the 2007 report, the committee said, the observational program’s budget has fallen short and changes in the program’s scope, overseen by the Office of Management and Budget and by Congress, have impeded progress."

Rachel Nuwer reports for the New York Times' Green blog May 2, 2012.

Source: Green/NYT, 05/03/2012