Tough times for NASA GISS?


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Daily Caller – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has just approved a bill which directs NASA to spend more resources exploring space, and less money on Earth sciences, such as climate research.

According to the official government committee website;

“Today’s bill is a step in the right direction to ensure that NASA will continue to innovate and inspire,” stated Chairman Lamar Smith. “The Authorization levels for FY16 and FY17 included in this bill provide NASA with the resources necessary to remain a leader in space exploration in a time of tight budget realities. For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration. We must restore balance to NASA’s budget if we want to ensure the U.S. continues to lead in space for the next 50 years. And we must continue to invest in NASA as the only government agency responsible for space exploration.”

Read more:

The Congressional Bill contains the following intriguing statement:

The Administrator shall carry out a scientific assess-

21 ment of the Administration’s Earth science global datasets

22 for the purpose of identifying those datasets that are use-

23 ful for understanding regional changes and variability, and

24 for informing applied science research. The Administrator

25 shall complete and transmit the assessment to the Com-

1 mittee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House

2 of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce,

3 Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later than

4 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

Read more: NASA Authorization Act for 16 and 17.pdf

My impression is that there is concern NASA is encroaching on NOAA’s turf – that NOAA should do the climate research, and NASA should focus on space research. The alternative, that some of NOAA’s responsibilities and budget could be formally transferred to NASA, is also mentioned.

138 thoughts on “Tough times for NASA GISS?

  1. NASA went into the global warming business for the same reasons all these various academic professors and their grad students piled in: this is where the taxes on thin air brings in tons of money.
    Studying anything else, doing anything else means no money. Billions pushed into the fraud to prove that thin air that is excellent for plants, is really killing all living things, needs confirmation from all possible entities such as NASA. Biologists now focus nearly exclusively on proving that plant food (CO2) is evil and should be eliminated.
    All of this is a crime and I wish we could have trials to punish the people pushing this but then, the fraudsters are demanding WE be put on trial for pointing out the reality of what is going on here.

    • The same is happening with all PC issues, because the truth has been outlawed. I always thought that George Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning to all free and civilised people, not as a manual for how to run a government….

    • The original purpose of GISS, that was funded by Robert Jastrow was this: “Following approval by NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan in December 1960, the institute was established by Dr. Robert Jastrow in May 1961 (originally as the New York City office of GSFC’s Theoretical Division) to do basic research in space sciences in support of GSFC programs. Research areas included the structure of Earth, Moon, and other planetary bodies; the atmospheres of Earth and the other planets; the origin and evolution of the solar system; the properties of interplanetary plasma; Sun-Earth relations; and the structure and evolution of stars.”
      No mention of meteorology or temperature studies at all.

    • I’ve often wondered: How much should people advocating against income inequality be paid?

    • Yeah, maybe NASA should make some more videos on that. They could hire Michael Moore for his objectivity.

  2. You mean NASA’s no longer gonna’ be able to do climate impact studies on the LGBT community?

  3. They would save money if the closed down NASA GISS. It hasn’t done real sciences for decades

    • Aren’t their headquarters submerged along with much of the rest of Manhattan? Isn’t this a moot point? I’m so confused. I just don’t know what to believe… :/

    • They only lost two Shuttles. That’s something. They put up several KH11 satellites that are bigger and more powerful than the Hubble. Of course they’re pointed the wrong way.

  4. So they are going to move more money from climate research to their Muslim outreach program…..

  5. Hmmm, ‘understanding regional changes and variability’. Someone’s a sharp cookie.

    • Kim, Bingo. “Regional Changes…” that to sounds like a defunding of the GISSTEMP. Which, if that is what is in play, is a lot bigger than this post appears to be saying.
      “The Administrator shall carry out a scientific assessment of the Administration’s Earth science global datasets for the purpose of identifying those datasets that are useful for understanding regional changes and variability, and or informing applied science research…”
      Oh the hawling, if it turns out that NASA is saying enough of the GISSTEMP, we dont need to pay for reevaluation of data already saved.

    • Is someone actually figuring out that a single temperature number for the globe, or even a region, is meaningless? No, no possible.

  6. If they transfer some of GISS’s work to the NCDC, I sure hope they do something about making it (and algorithms) easy to access. Whenever I have to look for something at I spend 15 minutes in some loop trying to find something I know I saw there before but can’t find.
    Maybe I need to come up with a Guide to the NCDC.

  7. Quite a few of the warmists are screaming to the high hills about how those darned Republicans are “destroying science” with this move.

  8. What, a Federal agency being told to mind it’s own business? How rude of the proletariat to elect representatives who might believe that NASA doesn’t know what’s in our best interests.

    • How about a RIF? Also consider the electrical energy that would be saved if their Kw munching super computer(s) were turned off.

  9. Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, if we’ve already destroyed planet Earth’s environment, like wot we’re always being told by the Alarmists, NASA is our only escape route. It makes sense to put the money into an escape strategy rather than a lost cause.

    • The EM drive has been kicking around for a few years. I’m not convinced, I wrote a few critical online comments a few years ago, when New Scientist did a write up. The EM drive seems really preposterous, conservation of momentum is part of conservation of mass and energy – right up there with things not being able to travel faster than light.

  10. It is a sad commentary on NASA that the satellite temperature series come from UAH and RSS, while NASA GISS ‘duplicates’ NOAA NCDC, which is also responsible for the primary data. And Rignot of NASA JPL is doing terrestrial Antarctic ice studies, instead of USGS or NSIDC. Lamar Smith is directionally correct. Wasteful duplicative mission creep.

  11. I don’t care which agency does what. The stupid politicization has to go.

  12. I think it is time that everyone understand that since Apollo, NASA is nothing more than another corrupt wasteful government bureaucracy populated with personell that were unable to get a job in the private sector. The record of two shuttle disasters are bad, but no one remembers the shuttle program failed to provide any substantial benefits as promised that disposable launches could have achieved. The Hubble was sent into space without checking the optics and required a massive repair effort. How about sending a probe to Jupiter and having the antenna fail? The final proof is Hansen and others manipulation of temperature date as well as his testimony before congress alone should prove that NASA is no longer a home for the best and brightest.

  13. This is a great political signal to the Federal bureaucrats at GISS. Personally, I’d prefer a much stronger signal that completely defunds and eliminates GISS, forcing them to turn over their data and code to NOAA, and terminating the employment of it’s globe-trotting Climate Lords. But it’s a step in the right direction. I can’t imagine it will soon be law. Senate Democrats can filibuster it, or if don’t and the bill does somehow manage to pass both houses, Emperor Obama would probably veto it.

  14. This type of budget cut for global warming related money is going to scare a lot people who profit from that gravy train. Expect an increase in fear mongering, no-data stories through media with the typical “Scientists say…” phrase that they use, as if a few guys trying to justify their research funds speak for the entire scientific community. I expect the IPCC in particular to be put into panic mode by this move by NASA, and I would bet they are preparing a statement right now to justify their empire and budgets.

    • You can count on it. Finding for this sort of “research” has been cut on Australia and we still see, day after day, alarmist climate change articles in the MSM. It’s only going tyo get worse as we get closer to the Paris gabfest!

    • The best move would be to defund the US/CDN portions of the UNFCCC, WMO and IPCC. There are enough national meteorological and climatological agencies – they can communicate among themselves without these unaccountable organizations.

  15. So, by drawing on space funds, climate change is hampering our efforts to conquer the galaxy. Better add that to the list affected things.

  16. When I become Fuhrer, NASA’s charter will be:
    “To take and hold the high ground of space.”

  17. So which section of NASA gave us gems like “arsenic-based life-forms” and “worms in meteorites”?
    Those would seem the places to start.

    • That’s fine. You’ve got to go to the edge to find the new.
      Sometimes it doesn’t pan out. But you’ve got to be willing to look for the extraordinary.

    • Perhaps in the case of the “worms”, since those are still being debated, but did you happen to watch the PR extravaganza announcing the arsenic-based life-forms? That was (or should have been) embarrassing.

  18. NASA was once the place for the nation’s top aerospace engineers. The best of the best. Now it seems at least partially filled with second rate dissertationed scientists weak in statistical acumen and incapable of using a paper bag to make a puppet. If NASA were to get rid of this accumulated chaff, they would be astounded at how many empty offices and work spaces there are, offices and hangered work stations once filled with people capable of wringing a miracle out of flat metal.

    • After WWII Nasa became the home of the World’s best engineers from England and Canada add the refugees from Germany and other parts of Europe. It was not just Americans that built it . (OK fine the test pilots were Americans that just goes to show).

    • After WWII the USSR and USA as many German rocket scientists as they could. This led to jokes back in those days about the relative success of US & Soviet space programmes being because “our Germans are better than their Germans”.

      • The Russians got the mechanical engineers and the US got the theoreticians. That’s why the Russians got something up there first. Many people never heard that after the football-sized Sputnik orbited, the second Russian satellite weighed 3500 pounds. Their adoption of the Big Dumb Booster allows them to dominate space launches to this day. NASA eschewed the BDB and marginalised it’s champion, wasting billions in the process. CAGW is the modern equivalent – an own-goal lavishly funded for no real benefit. The public wants Buck Rogers. Buck wants to go to Mars.

    • I agree. NASA used to be amazing.
      NASA and the military have brought us technology much quicker than might otherwise have happened.
      My favorite example – Integrated circuits had been invented in 1959 but had trouble finding a market. Their continued development was spurred on by the Minuteman II program and by the program to land man on the moon. For sure the space program paid for itself with the technological head start it gave to America.
      Having said the above, I have a nasty feeling that NASA’s best days are behind it. Government programs often/usually take on a life of their own and are hard to get rid of when their original purpose has been achieved.

      • OT factoid from the Fifties: With no chips available, ICBMs in the late fifties had a total on-board computer memory, which stored the guidance and control system, of 4KB. That included the star navigation maps and targeting control. When Kennedy threatened to nuke Moscow, the targeting precision was ‘within 150 miles’ of Moscow. The only compensation for the inaccuracy was massive numbers.

    • Yes, you are right. It was multi-national after WWII. And improved because of it. Halcyon days.

    • I worked with NASA Goddard for many years about 20 years ago. I could see the coming demise as the ratio of bureaucrats/RIP (retired in place) workers to lets-get-this-done/who-cares-about-who-gets-credit engineers was in free fall.
      I once had a meeting where 10 engineers were supposed to meet to discuss how to address a small satellite component failure. Almost 200 managers showed up. Why? They were hoping to get on the meeting roster to claim credit for whatever solution was discovered.

  19. Do you need a bill to give this kind of direction? I thought this sort of thing was simply management. Can Obama say no? If so, don’t hold your breath on its implementation

    • Advancing the case as tackling “duplication of effort” will make it pretty difficult to veto it IMO, without looking like you are condoning government waste. They are not suggesting climate programmes should be cut, all they are saying is two different government agencies shouldn’t be performing the same climate programmes.

  20. Nasa has done space exploration? I thought they only wrote articles that contradicted their own data on the horrors of the coming climate change.

  21. Actually the US budget could probably be slashed in half without a loss in services (many of those would be the next step to cut it in half again). There are about a dozen weather Climate agencies, a few dozen security agencies and dozens of police force categories and who knows how many other duplicative services. A good example is DEA, ATF, FBI, HLS etc. plus the state orgs. Didn’t this used to be handled by the FBI? How have Americans allowed this bureaucratic multiplication to occur? Probably randomly selecting half the individuals by lottery and laying them off wouldn’t even be of noticeable effect, except the lucky survivors would probably work harder.

  22. I would rather see USGS take the role given its unquestioned expertise in Geology and Geophysics investigations. Expertise that NOAA (and all of ‘Climate Science’) lacks.

  23. Worrall, that is an important post.
    It is economically damaging and irresponsibly wasteful when the citizen’s scarce money goes to the ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration’ (NASA) for Earth Atmospheric System (EAS) studies when those studies are within the general scope of the ‘National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ (NOAA) per NOAA’s original charter. Therefore, I strongly support, as a taxpaying US citizen, a desist order to NASA’s ‘Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) to stop any further EAS research and an order for the immediate transfer of all its past research information to NOAA.
    Any extended contracts NASA’s GISS has on EAS studies can be terminated with negotiated termination settlements and exit compensation packages.
    I do not support reassigning relevant GISS infrastructure and staff to NOAA because that would not eliminate duplication on necessary people, facilities and processes which are irresponsibly wasteful.

    • I don’t think the bill will lead to a simple reassignment. To justify a simple “reassignment”, NOAA would have to admit they weren’t actually fulfilling their remit to study the weather and climate, which would incur the risk that a lot of their funding could be transferred to NASA. Bureaucracies tend to hang on to their budgets like limpets, so I suspect NOAA will fight very hard against any perception that NASA should have some of NOAA’s money.

      • Eric Worrall on May 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm
        – – – – – – – – –
        Eric Worrall,
        Are you suggesting that it was NASA unilaterally acting to do ‘oceanic and atmospheric’ work because they decided NOAA “weren’t actually fulfilling their remit”; namely, do you suggest NASA decided for the sake of humanity to jump in to take over work in the atmospheric and ocean charter of NOAA?
        It appears the US gov’t is in a solid position to say “it is most efficient and dramatically less wasteful” not to have duplicate work on the “atmospheric and ocean” and that it is NOAA’s charter to do the work and it isn’t NASA’s charter.

  24. How about we take a look at a map of all the places that have changing gravity signals?
    That way we can all have a look at decide if melting ice is the only plausible explanation for the data they are getting for this particular location.

  25. Hold on a second, remember that John Christy and Roy Spencer are responsible for the NASA Aqua Satellite and the UAH database from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

    • The bill contains an exception, which allows NASA to allocate budget to develop and maintain cutting edge Earth Science space instrumentation, to help NOAA study the climate.

  26. I hope this is a wake up call to all the US agencies and scientists that the AGW meme has worn too thin to continue on its’ current course. I can see the scientists affected by this turnaround in ‘fortunes’ coming clean about what’s been going on behind the scenes to protect what’s little left of their reputations in hopes of gaining employment elsewhere. Once the whistle blowing starts it should snow ball. Don’t forget to vote.

  27. It’s probably just as well they abandoned space flight. All their Germans are dead or deported.

  28. The best way to advance space exploration is to shut down NASA and let the private sector develope innovative and comoetititive space technologies..
    The military is obviously free to spend public founds for space-based weapons and military satellites, but other than that, the private sector would be much more innovative and cost efficient in developing space technologies.

    • The Air Force has an unmanned space shuttle, but though small, I’m pretty sure a dedicated astronaut with enough air could survive the ride.

      • This is how the current generation want ALL video. Same piano sound. Same sweeping drama-inducing shots. Same minimal content with pretty visuals. Excessive use of slow motion. Shots seemingly designed to make it difficult to determine if they’re video or CG.
        To be honest, I’ve seen hobbyists with more impressive launches and vehicles. Remember, microcontrollers capable of controlling and guiding a rocket are currently in the $2 range, compared to the $millions for a Saturn rocket.

    • “The best way to advance space exploration is to shut down NASA and let the private sector develope innovative and comoetititive space technologies.”
      Amen brother, amen.

    • let the private sector develope innovative and [competitive] space technologies. . . .but other than that, the private sector would be much more innovative and cost efficient in developing space technologies.

      This conventional neoliberal thinking has been thoroughly debunked in economist Dr. Mariana Mazzucato’s research work on the actual data on innovation over the last 50 years, and written up in her book, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Myths in Risk and Innovation
      She’s in love with the idea of a green economy, which I ignore, but the hard data she presents on innovative technologies over the past decades, and who really created them, developed them, and paid for them is eye-opening. She discusses that in this interview:

      • MRW– Mazzucato simply repeats the Leftist propaganda that the State drives innovation, which is utterly false. Governments have completely decimated the world economy and have run up $100+ trillion in public debt, ruined the banking sector, and created asset bubble economies through insane zero-interest rate monetary policies and money printing, which are required to finance the $100+ trillion global government debt.
        Mazzucato said in the interview, “lowering corporate taxes increases golf playing, not R&D spending”….. That pretty much explains her complete misunderstanding of how economies work and why they prosper.
        She had the audacity to say govts lead the way in drug research.. Not so much… U.S. FDA rules and regs now cost drug companies $1 BILLION PER NEW DRUG to get FDA approval, which has decimated new drug innovation; only around 15 new drugs are approved each year… There should be 100’s…
        She is a leftist propagandist.
        There are many points she made that were completely absurd, but you get my point.
        Free markets and teeny tiny governments (less than 10% of GDP being stolen by BOTH State and Federal govts) are the best ways to assure innovation and strong economies. Any govt theft over 10% of GDP is just money thrown down the toilet.

  29. By the way, if anyone hasn’t seen “Interstellar” yet, it’s worth seeing for a few reasons. First, for how horrible the left’s vision of the future is. Second, for the undeserved reverence given to NASA. Third, because their Dr. Mann character is a cowardly liar who falsified his data.
    Fourth, if you’re having trouble sleeping.

      • It is a good,even without the Mann like character,but some typical Hollywood style mangling of science is evident. The stupendous waves, in shallow water that never change depth, is an obvious example. But the movie is very good anyway.

  30. Maybe some employees will earning their kept instead of running a personal blog.

  31. We are getting close to a time when most deep-space exploration will have to end. No more Pu-238 being produced, no more heat sources, no more long-term spaceflights. The satellites around the Earth can probably limp along on solar cells, but they will have to be replaced fairly regularly. Space radiation is not kind to solar cells.

    • Did you see the look on the Bear’s Face. I know what it was thinking, ‘Dinner Time’.

    • Doesn’t surprise me coming from a ‘newspaper’ that openly refuses to print anything opposing the AGW meme. Being rabidly Liberal doesn’t help but they occasionally print Conservative op ed pieces as long as it doesn’t question AGW.

  32. Goldrider –
    WaPo goes further:
    1 May: WaPo: Marshall Shepherd: Cutting NASA’s earth science budget is short-sighted and a threat
    (Dr. Marshall Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Geography at the University of Georgia and 2013 President of the American Meteorological Society. He hosts Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks. He is also a member of the Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council.)
    When I went to bed last night, I had no intention of writing this commentary. However, I literally could not sleep contemplating the reckless cuts to NASA’s earth sciences budget being proposed by some in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Phil Plait at Slate (LINK) and Capital Weather Gang recently documented the stark and primitive cuts being proposed for the NASA authorization bill…
    NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, one of the few people that has actually seen our home planet from the vantage point of space, issued a statement noting that proposed cuts, “gut our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate, and our ability to prepare for and respond to earthquakes, droughts, and storm events…” This statement is measured and appropriate, but I am writing to amplify this statement…
    I am a former scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and worked on missions to improve our understanding and capabilities in weather prediction, monitoring of hurricanes, and assessment of flood potential. As the former deputy project scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, I assure you that the level of cuts proposed for NASA’s earth sciences program would not only harm but end many programs and jeopardize many federal and private sector jobs. The engineering, ground systems, science, and support work of NASA earth science missions is supported by some of the most vibrant private aerospace and science-technology companies in the world…
    I served on a National Academy of Science panel that examined national security implications of climate change on U.S. Naval Operations. This study was commissioned by the Navy itself…
    I host The Weather Channel’s Sunday talk show Weather Geeks. This Sunday we examine the role of NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions on science and societal applications…
    More importantly, none of us has a “vacation planet” we can go to for the weekend, so I argue that NASA’s mission to study planet Earth should be a “no-brainer.”

    • …and jeopardize many federal and private sector jobs.
      They are redirecting funding, not closing NASA. All they want is to get something for the money instead of readjusted data sets. We already have the CRU at UEA for that.

Comments are closed.