Cutbacks and reallocations within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are "already causing harm" to Earth-observing satellites, and "will become rapidly worse unless the Congress and the Administration take prompt action to reverse the recent trends," the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) cautioned.
"The network of satellites upon which the United States and the world have relied for indispensable observations of Earth from space is in jeopardy," the AAAS Board of Directors concluded in a consensus statement. (See www.aaas.org/EOS.) "Declines will result in major gaps in the continuity and quality of the data gathered about the Earth from space."
This week’s AAAS Board statement reaffirms an earlier, 400-page analysis by the National Research Council, which concluded that U.S. global observations are "at great risk," while the next generation of U.S. Earth-observing satellites are "generally less capable" than their current counterparts.
AAAS joined the NRC in calling for the restoration of key NOAA satellites; acceleration of NASA’s current launch schedule to "shrink data gaps;" and support for the 17 highest-priority new Earth-observation missions for the 2010-2020 time period. Achieving these goals will require returning NASA’s Earth-science budget to its 1998-2000 level and stabilizing the budget of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service at a level only slightly higher than the 2007 amount, adjusted for inflation, AAAS said.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology plans a hearing Wednesday, 2 May on NASA’s Space Science Programs and Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Issues. The hearing will take place from 10:00 am until Noon in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2318.
Another hearing the U.S. global climate-change research program will take place Thursday, 3 May, from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm, in the same location.
In addition, AAAS will release its much-awaited annual analysis of proposed 2008 federal research funding, during the 32nd Annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, Thursday and Friday this week. For details, see www.aaas.org/forum.
Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, said the President’s proposed 2008 budget calls for large increases to three physical sciences agencies relevant to the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) and additional support for weapons and spacecraft -- but less funding for all other research. "Many agencies such as the National Institutes of Health would see their R&D funding fall," said Koizumi. "In real terms, the federal research investment would fall for the fourth year in a row after peaking in 2004."
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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