Status Report

(Earth Science) Senate Rpt.107-222 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2002
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Earth Science

The activities of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise
seek to understand the total Earth system and the effects of humans on
the global environment. This pioneering program of studying global
climate change is developing many of the capabilities that will be
needed for long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction.
Governments around the world need information based on the strongest
possible scientific understanding. The unique vantage-point of space
provides information about the Earth’s land, atmosphere, ice, oceans,
and biota as a global system, which is available in no other way. In
concert with the global research community, the Earth Science Enterprise
is developing the understanding needed to support the complex
environmental policy decisions that lie ahead.

However, the Committee is concerned about the potential for the
administration to diminish NASA’s pre-eminent role in earth science and
earth science applications. As the Committee noted during its fiscal
year 2003 hearings, the Agency’s development and launch of a series of
major earth science missions combined with a successful ground system
that is processing and distributing the largest volumes of data ever
received by civilian users from space are among NASA highest
technological and scientific achievements. The Committee wishes to
affirm its unequivocal support for expanding NASA’s role in earth
science and earth science applications.

Within the applications program, the Committee believes that the
Agency’s approach needs more refinement and integration of emerging
programs, like Synergy, the Regional Earth Science Applications Centers
(RESACs), the Earth Science Information Partnerships (ESIPS) and the
considerable in-house scientific capability at the NASA Centers. Such
integration should not disrupt the existing program structure in 2003,
but should plan for an evolutionary approach in fiscal year 2004. The
Committee is pleased with efforts to integrate key Federal agency
requirements as objectives of the applications program and expects a
progress report on these efforts in the operating plan.

The Committee strongly supports the development of remote sensing
research and technology as a collaboration and partnership between NASA,
universities and the private sector. The Committee commends both SSC and
Goddard for their investment and commitment to the commercial aspects of
remote sensing research and technology. There already have been
significant advances made with regard to remote sensing applications in
agriculture, flood mapping, environmental protection, urban planning,
firefighting and land use issues. The Committee urges both Goddard and
SSC to work together to continue to develop those remote sensing
research and technology projects that have the strongest potential for
commercial applications.

In keeping with this emphasis, the Committee makes the following
adjustments to the budget request:

An increase of $25,000,000 for EOSDIS for the Synergy Program at the
Goddard Space Flight Center.

An increase of $20,000,000 for pre-formulation studies. The
additional funding provided for this program is to be used to continue
pre-formulation studies for solar irradiance, total column ozone and
ocean vector winds.

An increase of $2,500,000 to the University of Washington, Pacific
Northwest Regional Collaboratory to develop applications and end-uses
for earth science data in the Northwest.

An increase of $750,000 for Utah State University for landscape
analysis, planning and monitoring at the Intermountain Region Digital
Image Archive and Processing Center.

An increase of $2,000,000 for the University of Montana for an
International Earth Observing System Natural Resource Training Center.

An increase of $2,000,000 for joint weather and ocean research at the
University of Massachusetts and the University of Alaska.

An increase of $1,500,000 for the University of Louisville for the
Bio-MEMS Microtechnology Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

An increase of $2,000,000 for the University of New Mexico for the
development of the Center for Rapid Environmental Assessment and Terrain
Evaluation (Create) which would provide for the rapid acquisition,
processing and dissemination of environmental data.

An increase of $1,500,000 for George Mason University in Fairfax,
Virginia for the Mid-Atlantic Geospatial Information Consortium.

A decrease of $3,400,000 from the flight projects building at JPL.
The Committee makes this reduction without prejudice in light of the
Agency’s decision to postpone construction in fiscal year 2002.

SpaceRef staff editor.