Money Can’t Buy Love, But It Can Buy Nice Satellites

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/4384863591/sizes/m/in/photostream/">NASA Goddard Photo and Video</a>/Flickr

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Human understanding of the orb we call home has improved vastly in the past decades. But our ongoing effort to improve on that knowledge is at serious risk, according to a new report from the National Research Council.

Budget shortages, rising costs, and failed missions have left our earth observation systems “in a more precarious position than they were five years ago,” according to the report: 

“The projected loss of observing capability will have profound consequences on science and society, from weather forecasting to responding to natural hazards,” said Dennis Hartmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and chair of the committee that wrote the report. “Our ability to measure and understand changes in Earth’s climate and life support systems will also degrade.”

Andrew Freedman of Climate Central also spoke to Hartmann, who offered more grim predictions:

During just the next eight years, U.S. Earth observation capabilities are likely to decline to roughly 25 percent of current levels, Hartmann said.

“We need those observations from space more than we ever have before, and just when we’re going to need them the most they’re not going to be there,” he said.

This comes as we face melting glaciers, more extreme weather events, and changes in rainfall patterns. There’s never been a time when we needed information about Earth more desperately.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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