Space & Astronomy
Environmental satellites are rapidly failing
By T.K. Randall
November 10, 2012 · 12 comments
Image Credit: NASA
The failure of older instruments and the lack of replacements could lead to future 'climate blindness'.
According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, satellites key to tracking the Earth's atmosphere are not being replaced fast enough to compensate for the failure of older equipment. With the way things are going, NASA and the NOAA may have as few as 20 sensors remaining in orbit by 2020.
The NOAA's next polar satellite for example isn't due to launch until 2017, forcing NASA to launch a stopgap satellite in the meantime. "We are basically going blind in terms of our ability to monitor the planet," climate satellite expert Antonio Busalacchi has warned.
Our eyes around Earth are seeing less. US environmental satellites that helped forecasters predict superstorm Sandy are failing. By 2020, the fleet could have just a quarter of the sensors it has today.
Source: New Scientist
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