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With more missions to Mars and the moon planned, researchers are forgetting the importance of the needs of people on Earth

A recent report done by the National Research Council has found that the U.S. satellite system that monitor's the environment and climate needs on Earth must undergo vast upgrades or scientists may lose ability to accurately forecast hurricanes, severe thunderstorms and winter storms. The report also called for NASA to launch 17 new satellites to launch by 2020. NASA and NOAA now have 25 satellites in orbit that specifically only conduct environmental measurements and observations – however, many of them are working past their initial expected service time.

“This is the most critical time in human history, with the population never before so big and with stresses growing on the Earth,” said Richard Anthes, co-chair on the committee which wrote the report.

The National Research Council of the National Academies also warned that by 2010, the number of instruments on satellites for Earth-observing purposes will be cut by around 40 percent.

The NOAA yearly budget of $1 billion per year for environmental satellites must continue to remain available to the organization. Spending $3 billion per year on new equipment and satellite missions through the year 2020 would sufficiently get Earth-observation back on the level it needs to be, according to space officials.



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By Zirconium on 1/17/2007 9:33:34 PM , Rating: 4
Space shuttles do not cause ozone holes when they are launched. Here is a link to a usenet post by Robert Parson, a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Universty of Colorado: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/ozone-depletion/intro/

quote:
Subject: 2.13) Do Space Shuttle launches damage the ozone layer?

Very little. In the early 1970's, when little was known about
the role of chlorine radicals in ozone depletion, it was suggested
that HCl from solid rocket motors might have a significant effect
upon the ozone layer - if not globally, perhaps in the immediate
vicinity of the launch. It was immediately shown that the effect
was negligible, and this has been repeatedly demonstrated since.
Each shuttle launch produces about 200 metric tons of chlorine as
HCl, of which about one-third, or 68 tons, is injected into the
stratosphere. Its residence time there is about three years. A
full year's schedule of shuttle and solid rocket launches injects
725 tons of chlorine into the stratosphere. This is negligible compared
to chlorine emissions in the form of CFC's and related compounds
(~1 million tons/yr in the 1980's, of which ~0.3 Mt reach the
stratosphere each year). It is also small in comparison to natural
sources of stratospheric chlorine, which amount to about 75,000 tons
per year. [Prather et al. 1990] [WMO 1991] [Ko et al.]


You are welcome to look up the papers he cited as well.


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