Friday, August 15, 2014

NOAA and NASA: It's not either-or

This story on is getting a lot of sharing. It's misleading because the one fact being cited has nothing to do with exploration of Earth's oceans. The Europa project, which is $2B spread over many years, is part of the smallest budget (with inflation taken into account) NASA has had since 2004. NASA has less than half the budget it had 50 years ago (FY1964). NASA's $18B budget is 1/2 of one percent of the Federal budget, the lowest share since 1960. NASA's budget isn't even as much as it seems, because Congressional patronage forces the agency to keep more centers than it needs (it has the same centers it had at the height of Apollo) and to run projects based on maximum jobs impact (the poster child being the Space Launch System: SpaceX and United Launch Alliance can build launchers almost as capable for a much lower investment by the federal government.)

NOAA, at $5.5B, is underfunded and always has been, but NASA isn't the cause. We have two realms to explore, and BOTH matter to our future.

Water plume on Europa's surface and hydrothermal plume in an Earth ocean. Let's explore them both... 

(images NASA, NOAA)


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