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NASA Earth Science Programs to be Topic of Congressional Hearing

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Committee on Science will tomorrow hold a hearing to examine the state of Earth science programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA proposes to spend about $1.37 billion on Earth science research in fiscal year 2006 (FY06, a cut of about $120 million, or 8 percent, from FY05 (or about $180 million, or 12 percent, below the FY04 request). 

In a report to be released this week, the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the budget cutbacks threaten the vitality of NASA's Earth science research, as many Earth science missions have been downsized, delayed or cancelled. The report is part of the "Decadal Survey" being conducted by the Academy at NASA's request to help the agency set priorities in the Earth sciences. The final report is due in late 2006.

The primary activities of NASA's Earth science program are to develop and launch research satellites designed to improve understanding of the land, oceans and atmosphere. In the past, NASA missions have helped gain new knowledge and capabilities that have led to advances in weather forecasting, storm warnings, and the ability to more efficiently manage agricultural and natural resources.

But the National Academy of Sciences report warns that U.S. leadership in developing such capabilities is threatened by the drop in support for NASA's Earth science research. Because at the time of this writing the report has yet to be released, NASA has not issued a response.  NASA will appear at the hearing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Full Science Committee - Hearing
NASA Earth Science
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
2318 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)

Witness List:

  • Mr. Alphonso V. Diaz, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA;
  • Dr. Berrien Moore III, Director, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire;
  • Dr. Tim Killeen, Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado;
  • Dr. Marcia McNutt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California;
  • Dr. Sean Solomon, Director, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington; and
  • Dr. Ray Williamson, Research Professor, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University.

  For more information, please contact the Science Committee Press Office at 202-225-4275.

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