"Not Sexy but Necessary" - In Technology/Commerce/Society, Dr. Roy Spencer writes about the ebb and flow of the US earth observation program, along with advances in earth satellites by the Japanese and ESA.
Spencer cites a change in focus in US efforts, going from NASA's dominance in earth observation toward a rekindling of effort at missions to the Moon and Mars, thus decreasing emphasis on earth observation. Along with this, a shift from series of earth observation satellites to single-satellite efforts to launch new technologies- which doesn't necessarily give scientists the continuity of observations from a consistent platform that they need.
He says "not sexy, but necessary"- the novelty of some of the technology has worn off, and the time to achieve payoff on some of the earth observation satellite efforts has made them less receptive by Congress. Hopefully this is not the case- with the ability to perform climate research via satellite, in the wake of Katrina's devastation, I hope this will be a new selling point.
climate change, earth observation, environment, esa, geo, Geospatial, gis, global warming, imagery, Japan, Katrina, mapping, NASA, NOAA, opinion, remote sensing, satellite, science, space