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Space Research and Earth Science

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April 11, 2011

Space Research and Earth Science

Sharon Kleyne talks to Dr. L. DeWayne Cecil about NASA and the Life or Death Importance of Earth Research from Space.

Guest: L. DeWayne Cecil, Ph D. (Salt Lake City, UT), Director, Western Region Climate Services, NOAA-NCDC (formerly with NASA).

Dr. Cecil is a frequent guest on The Sharon Kleyne Hour - Power of Water. His subject on this day was concern about NASA budget allocations. Dr. Cecil is convinced that space based earth science research from orbiting satellites offers the greatest hope to humankind to acquire the information needed to assure the survival of life on planet Earth. There are many answers we must have, that only space based research, including NASA's Earth Observation Satellite program, can provide.

Hundreds of critical earth and atmospheric experiments were conducted aboard the Space Shuttle during the program's lifetime. The Space Shuttle also launched hundreds of satellites aimed at discovering more about Earths weather (global warming, global drying and climate change), geology, atmosphere, forest and vegetation distribution, etc. With the Space Shuttle fleet being retired, and a projected five year hiatus before a replacement program begins, a gap has been created that Dr. Cecil believes we can ill-afford at this critical time in Earth's history.

Dr. Cecil is also concerned about specific projects that have been cut back in NASA's Earth Observation Satellite and Launch Services program. He notes that an orbiting carbon observation satellite and an orbiting aerosol observation satellite both crashed on launch and were not replaced. He stresses that space based research and Earth Observation Satellites could provide information about - and even predict - tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, ozone depletion, solar radiation, tsunamis and changing weather, pollution and vegetation patters.

This information is crucial to global public health (to combat environmentally caused dehydration diseases such as dry eye and malignant melanoma) , disaster preparation, and the planet's ability to feed its inhabitants and mange its energy and water resources. Much of the information is only available from the wide perspective of space and has already saved countless lives.

The challenge is to persuade congress DAILY about the immense value added from Earth Observation Satellites.

Dr. Cecil then discussed global climate change, especially over the last decade. He noted that trends show rapid warming but also noted that earth is self-regulating. As energy builds up, the Earth moves it around. With the increased total energy, there are more extremes, including more locally severe winters and storms, more extreme events and, with Earth's growing population, more people affected by them.

A depleted or contaminated aquifer, used for irrigation or urban drinking water, can take hundreds, if not thousands of years to repair, replenish and cleanse.

Sharon Kleyne's evaluation: Sharon Kleyne fully supports space based research and the NASA program. She urges listeners to become educated on this subject and to urge their representatives in to support full funding of NASA, especially in the area of Earth Observation Satellites, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Launch Services.

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