Just thought I'd do my bit to cheer on DeSmog's efforts to call attention to the ludicrous defunding of NASA's earth observation programs. In particular, they assert that a valuable instrument, officially called DSCOVR, and in some circles dismissively called "GoreSat" has been sitting in cold storage for several years, and the US has even refused to let other nations launch it on their own dime.
Look, I suppose I don't get a lot of knee-jerk conservatives here, but you don't automatically have to disagree with everything your opponent says. If Osama says that two and two make four that doesn't make it five, okay?
Al Gore thinks we should collect more data, to see if climate theory is valid. Does that mean, if you disagree with Al Gore, you should avoid collecting data? I mean, this whole "GoreSat" nomenclature shows a level of intellectual maturity you wouldn't leave unchallenged if it came from an eleven-year-old.
Update 9/13: Stoat argues, conversely, that just because Gore likes it doesn't mean it's a good idea. That's fair as far as it goes.
If the French are really willing to launch it, it seems likely that there is some demand for the information. Direct measurement of albedo seems useful enough alone.
Sometimes a scalar series can be an important constraint.
I'm inclined to think that the sunk costs should win the day unless it's a spectacularly bad idea, in which case we should be asking why such a very bad idea got funded in the first place.
The real issue is at least probably the effective abandonment of earth observation as a NASA priority.
One might ask, in turn, why it is the US's responsibiltiy to do everything in this regard. In fact, though, if the French are willing to launch it, maybe they'll be willing to maintain it if we ask.
Something really does seem odd about this. I'm willing to be convinced that the consequence of the oddity is that the mission should be scrubbed, and perhaps DeSmog aren't the ones to figure this out, but I'd really like to hear the whole story.