Wednesday, December 1, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled Transition and Implementation: The NASA Authorization Act of 2010. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Science and Space, announced the purpose of the hearing—to discuss and explain the implementation of the recently passed NASA Authorization Act of 2010. The Authorization Act invests more in new space programs and already existing programs, including those in the Earth Science Division.
Witnesses who testified at the hearing included John Holdren, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Elizabeth Robinson, Chief Financial Officer at NASA, and Cristina Chaplain, Director of acquisition and sourcing management, U.S. Government Accountability Office. In his opening statement, Dr. Holdren stated that the 2010 NASA Authorization Act “represents a critical step toward achieving the President’s goals in this arena (space exploration)”. He also emphasized the role of Earth Science and development of innovations in satellite technology in building U.S. leadership in global climate change research in the future.
The Earth Science Division is focused on understanding the changing climate, how human activities affect the environment, and the changing climate’s interaction with life. The Division’s research programs provide data on solar output, sea level rise, atmospheric and ocean temperature, ozone depletion, air pollution, and observation of human and environment relationships. By using space-based observations with satellite technologies, this research contributes to the fundamental knowledge of the most vital scientific questions about the global integrated Earth system. The satellite technology and land remote sensing observation employed in the Division’s research programs have a critical role in Earth science, climate science, environmental understanding, and mitigating destructive environmental impacts.
Witnesses’ testimonies and webcast of the hearing can be accessed at: