They want to shut down and defund DSCOVR:
DSCOVR’s cameras are intended to monitor changes in earth’s climate and weather patterns, from ozone and aerosols to temperature and deforestation. One of the scientists involved in developing the satellite told Air and Space Magazine that it would “be like having a thermometer for the whole planet.”
The Deep Space Climate Observatory is an American satellite that sits in a special orbit between the earth and the sun, about 1.5 million kilometers away from us. That distance allows it to capture unique images of the entire earth. Today, US president Donald Trump said he wants to shut down those cameras.
DSCOVR, as it is known, will still have a mission: Giving an early warning of solar weather events that could potentially cause damage back on earth, like power outages or interrupted communications.
But the satellite’s two other observation tools, one a camera that takes images across 10 different levels of the visual spectrum, the other a radiometer to measure radiation on earth, will apparently be shut off. (NASA hasn’t responded to a question about how, exactly, that would work.)
This is nefarious because it is a step towards deliberately blinding the United States to data which could be used to monitor climate status, effectively destroying an incredibly expensive asset which takes essentially no money to operate. The only reason this kind of action would be pursued is entirely ideological. The resource is globally important, but it is so important that others will step in and provide the information, except, by all rights, they should sell that information to us.
I am not at all surprised, but I hoped this bunch of bumpkin yahoos would not go this far. And, despite protestations to the contrary, I blame this entirely on Americans who voted for and continue to support 45.
Postscript, 2017-03-17, 09:38 EDT
Upon further consideration, this attempt to shut down EPIC on DSCOVR is not as scary as it is just rock-dumb stupid.
First, DSCOVR cost $340 million to design, build, and launch, so, essentially, the Trumpistas are tossing that into the landfill. Moreover, it’s not like the science will stop. It’ll continue to be done by other countries, as mentioned above, and, as it turns out, by the United States, but using the much more expensive method of obtaining the same data by flying aircraft to collect it. The instrument costs less than $1 million a year to operate, extract and interpret the data, and archive it for public consumption.
Second, by looking to surgically remove this specific instrument, the Trumpistas and their allies like Imhofe have acknowledged not only the significance of climate change but the human responsibility for it. In fact, this action on its own, setting aside for the moment the many others this administration is pursuing, suggests the fossil fuel allies of Trump are terrified that their investments and time are at significant risk, and they are completely desperate to blind, interfere, and make difficult not only the climate science enterprise, but when, as Dr Stephen Chu says, “The [climate] s___ starts hitting the fan,” the ease with which fingers will be pointed at the fossil fuel industry, and people like Imhofe, not to mention Trump and company.
So, this is a kind of a victory … Somebody let the drunk junior high kids into the NASA control room, and they are going to trash the place. And, as I wrote above, it’s those somebodies who are responsible for this.
What does Trump think scientists are going to do? Beg?
Ah, yes, making America dumber again. Remember how they paid off in the 1950s with Sputnik? “Go ahead: Make my day.”