Congress

NASA Earth science hearing

The full House Science Committee is planning a hearing for this Thursday at 10am on “NASA Earth Science”. Witnesses include NASA associate administrator Al Diaz and three earth scientists. I haven’t seen any other details about specific topics of interest during the hearing, although it will be interesting to see how scientists think NASA’s Earth sciences program is faring under the Vision for Space Exploration…

12 comments to NASA Earth science hearing

  • As far as I know, Bush is not in any hurry to gut space-based earth science. I assume that he doesn’t want to pick a fight over it. But in the long term, there is nothing reassuring about either the enormous budget deficit, or Bush’s general distrust of atheists and liberals (given that most scientists are both), or his Hallucination of Space Exploration. If NASA science isn’t yet gutted, it has seen several cuts. Reports also say that O’Keefe stripped it of some of its protection from future cuts.

    Actually, neither I nor most science see space science as a sacred cow. It is after all one of the best-funded areas of science. The real concern is that NASA will be one boat on stilts in the midst of a falling tide.

  • Matthew Brown

    Best funded only cause it costs so much to launch something up there. And that makes the Tools we do send so much more expesive cause it has to be more robust.

    Most of the vocal space scientists do not want to make a short term sacrifice for the good of long term space science. Cause if they do not have a tool up there they can’t have a carrer.

    Now i know this won’t happen, but if all the money for space based science was redirected for the next ten years to subsidize Space access with the goals to make it cheaper. Just like Sam Dinkin’s Article this week, (which i’ve been trying to convince my congrees people since the early 90′s)
    In 10 years we wpould be doin four times the space science we cpould have been doing if the access to space remains what it is. The Majority of VSE should be going to making cheap acess in the next 10 years.

    Its the only way to make it afforadable and able to send humans out in the solarsystem that won’t interfere with space based science. It will make space based science cheap enough for even the NSF to do.

    Otherwise all that 90% of this space science funding really does is to give the Boeing/Lockheed duopoly more money.

    This is not about liberal or conservative why people complain space science is becoming a step child, its the pressure to publish. I just do get why you liberals and conservatives like to blame the other side for your troubles, when its the the fight between your two sides is the cause of all the ills. Or more likely the Democrat/Republican duopoly, As George Washington warned in his farewell address.

  • I have a friend who works as a scientist protecting wetlands in the EPA, not exactly an endeavor you would expect Mr. Bush, et al, to support. My friend said that there has actually been very little change in the working ranks of the EPA. He argued that, outside of the anti-environment ideologues at the very top, most of the Administration appointees at the EPA are time servers who don’t give a damn about the environment. Their jobs are to make sure that there are no negative headlines.

    No change = no headlines.

    To the degree that this is true, it might also explain why there has been relatively little change in NASA’s Earth science program.

    – Donald

  • Cecil Trotter

    “anti-environment ideologues at the very top”

    Come on Donald, I think that statment is part of the “fight between your two sides” that Mr Brown was talking about.

    Why is it that anyone who doesn’t agree with you on the solutions to enviromental issues is “anti-environment”?

  • Well, I was quoting someone else (though I happen to agree with him). In any case, I did not in fact say that anyone who disagrees with me is “anti-environment.”

    However, in addition to what I quoted above, my friend also says that the appointees at the top have pushed down some very unfortunate decisions that will negatively affect California’s fresh water supply and have refused even to listen to the scientists in the field, let alone follow their advice. I believe it is fair to call such an appointee an ideolog.

    However, to be fair myself, I do not always agree with the environmental community — particularly on issues relating to spaceflight — and, if it’s a choice between human exploration and Earth science I would find that an easy choice. The environmental community certainly has its share of ideologs who are just as “uncompromising” (from my dictionary’s definition of ideolog) as those in the Bush Administration who would happily pave over huge swaths of irreplaceable wetlands and cut down the last old growth forests for very short-term economic gain.

    – Donald

  • Cecil Trotter

    Appointees at the top pushing an agenda on “underlings” who don’t agree with that agenda is nothing new, it is certainly not a right-wing conservative creation. It is also not surprising that “scientists in the field” don’t agree with Bush administration decisions; it is well know that “scientists” are by and large liberal.
    I don’t have any specifics to point to at the moment, but I know I’ve come across instances where liberal scientists have opposed a Republican agenda purely because it was a Republican agenda.
    Scientists are some times, seemingly at least, held up as some pure and faultless gauge of what is correct or not in a certain field. But that is not always true, as scientists like everyone else have their biases based on their political / ideological beliefs. And as I’ve already stated, the majority of scientists are of a liberal bent so when they oppose a conservative agenda based on “scientific grounds” it should be looked at with some degree of skepticism.
    Now I am glad you admit that the environmental community has its share of ideologues; I would expand on that to say that the entire liberal movement has its share of ideologues that are just as prone to dismiss anything that doesn’t agree with their preconceived world view as any conservative ideologue. But again you end your post with more rhetoric, as I’m unaware of any attempt by “anti-environment ideologues” to pave over wetlands or mow down great swaths of old growth forest.

  • Matthew Brown you’ve read my mind.

  • Well, Cecil,

    If you are “unaware” of Republican attempts to roll back or eliminate laws protecting old growth forests and wetlands, you are every bit as ideologically blind as I may be.

    The difference is, I admit that some of my opinions are driven by ideology, and you, apparently (and in common with many conservatives who pretend that conservative ideology and objective truth are synonomous) do not. In fact, my support for human exploration is largely driven by ideology, and that is most likely true of everyone on this list — whether they chose to admit it to themselves or not.

    – Donald

  • Cecil Trotter

    “If you are “unaware” of Republican attempts to roll back or eliminate laws protecting old growth forests and wetlands, you are every bit as ideologically blind as I may be.“

    And how is rolling back or eliminating some laws with regard to old growth forests and wetlands the same as paving those areas over completely? Please site specific examples of Republican attempts to take a unique protected area and turn it into a parking lot. Changing a law that prohibits “all development” in a certain forested or wetland area so that instead “some development” is allowed is being misrepresented as totally destroying the area in question. That isn’t factual that is ideological rhetoric.

    “The difference is, I admit that some of my opinions are driven by ideology, and you, apparently (and in common with many conservatives who pretend that conservative ideology and objective truth are synonomous) do not.”

    How do you arrive at that conclusion? You would first have to site a specific example along with factual evidence and then I would have to dismiss your factual evidence purely on conservative ideological grounds. You’ve not sited such evidence you have only engaged in the sort of rhetoric and name calling that Mr. Brown first sited as being harmful.

  • I believe it is you who is engaging in rheteric.

    My statements, “Republican attempts to roll back or eliminate laws protecting old growth forests and wetlands” and to “pave over huge swaths of irreplaceable wetlands and cut down the last old growth forests” become in your words, “paving those areas over completely,” which is not close to what I said.

    Your comments are every bit as devoid of facts (and accurate quotes) as you say mine are. I don’t believe that my statements would be particularly controversal even among many Republicans: many of them seem proud of what they are doing. But, you might ask yourself why a moderate Republican in charge of the EPA quit rather than continue to implement the administration’s policies.

    I suggest we end this here as overly off-topic.

    – Donald

  • Cecil Trotter

    “Your comments are every bit as devoid of facts (and accurate quotes) as you say mine are.”

    I’ve not tried to post any “facts” concerning old forests, wetlands etc. I have simply pointed out that you have not posted any facts supporting YOUR view of the old forest/wetlands/Republican “situation”. It is that lack of factual evidence that I believe makes your posts declaring Republicans to be “anti-environment” to be rhetoric and nothing more.

    “I suggest we end this here as overly off-topic.”

    The particulars of wetlands etc. are off topic, but the over use of rhetoric devoid of fact is certainly applicable to space politics.

    That sort of rhetoric when used by Conservatives in reference to Liberals has in the recent past deemed to be “mean spirited” and without place in civil discourse. Yet I now hear Howard Dean openly declaring Republicans to be idiots, Liberal web sites selling shirts bearing slogans urging Tom Delay to kill himself and Liberal talk shows running commercials imitating the shooting of President Bush over proposed Social Security changes. This type of Liberal rhetoric takes “mean spiritedness” to an entirely new and previously unexplored (in democratic nations) level.

  • I do not subscribe to or support the kind of Liberal extremism you describe.