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NASA to Push Through Earth Science Missions Amid Potential Budget Cuts

Dec 07, 2016 04:03 AM EST

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration are not fazed by the possibility of budget cuts in their Earth Science division in the next administration. As a matter of fact, NASA is going to push through its second space-based investigation in Earth Venture-Mission series.

The new mission of NASA's Earth division will involve a satellite dubbed as Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, or GeoCARB. This satellite will orbit approximately 22,000 miles above the equator. GeoCARB will be used to collect real-time measurements of plant health and vegetation stress across the country. The new satellite also has the ability to monitor natural resources, sinks and exchange processes controlling carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

"The GeoCARB mission breaks new ground for NASA's Earth science and applications programs," said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in a press release. "GeoCARB will provide important new measurements related to Earth's global natural carbon cycle, and will allow monitoring of vegetation health throughout North, Central and South America."

The GeoCARB mission will be led by Berrien Moore of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The mission was chosen from 15 proposals submitted by different institutions for the opportunity to launch as small orbital investigations of the Earth system. The OU team will receive a five-year, $166 million grant by NASA to work on the mission. The mission is expected to launch on an advanced payload aboard commercial communication satellite.

The decision of NASA's Earth Science division to push through another mission, despite the threat of being abolished or transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is very commendable.

Previously, the Trump administration has voiced out their plan to make NASA concentrate on Deep Space exploration, leaving behind Earth and Climate Science. Advisers of the president-elect have also showed some intentions to decrease the funding for all Earth and Climate Science missions.

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