8/31/2005

Prepared Statement by Alphonso Diaz - House Science Committee Hearing on NASA Earth Sciences | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

Bush's "voyage to Mars" mandate force scientists to package Earth Science in "exploration friendly" terms, to avoid radical funding cuts. Regardless, funding was cut significnatly -- law

STATUS REPORT
Date Released: Thursday, April 28, 2005
Source: House Science Committee

Prepared Statement by Alphonso Diaz - House Science Committee Hearing on NASA Earth Sciences

Statement of Alphonso V. Diaz
Associate Administrator for Science
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
before the House Science Committee

On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration. The President's directive gave NASA a new focus and clear objectives. The fundamental goal of this directive for the Nation's space exploration program is "…to advance U.S. scientific security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program." In issuing this directive, the President committed the Nation to a journey of returning humans to the Moon, sending robots and ultimately humans to Mars, and exploring the solar system and beyond. He challenged us to establish new and innovative programs to enhance our understanding of the planets, to ask new questions and to answer questions as old as humankind. NASA enthusiastically embraced this directive and immediately began an agency-wide transformation to enable us to achieve the Vision.

NASA's recently published document, The New Age of Exploration: NASA's Direction for 2005 and Beyond, articulates NASA's commitment to implementing the Vision for Space Exploration. It identifies NASA's Guiding National Objectives to:

1. Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond

2. Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations

3. Develop innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructure both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration

4. Promote international and commercial participation in exploration

5. Study the Earth System from space and develop new space-based and related capabilities for this purpose

NASA Earth science is critical for fulfilling NASA's mission because of NASA's unique capabilities of frequent global observations, modeling and data assimilation with the aim to improve prediction of both large-scale and small-scale processes. Human exploration of Mars and beyond requires prediction of the environment to be encountered by humans. The technological tools and scientific skills that NASA continues to develop through studying Earth, which has the most complex ecosystem with continuous interactions of biological, chemical and physical processes at all time and space scales, are critical in the exploration and search for life of other planets in our own solar system and beyond.

Conclusion

The integrated view of Sun and Earth as a system is reflected in our strategic roadmapping approach and long-term planning. NASA's goal is to continue using our unique view from space to study the Earth system and improve our prediction of the Earth system change. Through new space-based technology designed to monitor the Earth system, NASA will provide timely, on-demand data and analyses to users for scientific research, national policymaking, economic growth, natural hazard mitigation, and the exploration of other planets in this solar system and beyond. NASA's FY 2006 budget request supports a robust science and mission set to ensure a wealth of scientific research and discovery will continue well into the future. Through this approach we also recognize the emerging importance of understanding the Earth-Sun system in enabling the achievement of the Vision and NASA's exploration mandate.

Prepared Statement by Alphonso Diaz - House Science Committee Hearing on NASA Earth Sciences | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

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