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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