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Mon, 2007-10-22 10:50Mitchell Anderson
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Did Bush’s Mars Plan Scuttle DSCOVR?

When the now-Nobel Laureate Al Gore proposed the DSCOVR mission way back in 1998, he was widely jeered by Republicans for interfering in the scientific business of NASA.

“Gore-sat”, “Gore-cam”, and “the multi-million dollar screen saver” were all quips trotted out on the floor of the Senate and Congress in opposition to the mission.

DSCOVR was a victim of such partisan politics. Even though it is fully completed at a cost of $100 million, this unique spacecraft remains in a storage box in Maryland, rather than providing critical data on the progress of climate change.
NASA quietly cancelled DSCOVR last year, citing “competing priorities”.

What could they be? Perhaps the biggest was George Bush’s edict NASA in January 2004 to put a human on the surface of Mars.

Fri, 2007-10-12 08:05Mitchell Anderson
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How Much Is Monitoring Climate Change Worth?

Part 6 in our “Uncover DSCOVR” series featuring science writer Mitchell Anderson
Like any government body, NASA has to decide where is best to spend it’s finite resources. These decisions aren’t easy but they are essential to ensure that the funds entrusted by the taxpayer are allocated in a coherent and thoughtful way.
Looking through that lens, it is hard to imagine how NASA saw fit to cancel DSCOVR after it was built – ostensibly due to lack of resources – when they are continuing to shovel literally billions of dollars on two mega projects that arguably have no scientific merit whatsoever. I speak of the International Space Station (ISS) and the proposed manned mission to Mars.
Fri, 2007-09-28 15:50Mitchell Anderson
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Could DSCOVR be saved by NOAA?

Here is the latest bizarre twist in our investigative series on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).

To recap, NASA was given over $100 million in taxpayers money to build a spacecraft that would look at the energy budget of our planet from a unique perspective. Even though it is fully completed over five years ago, it is still sitting in a box at the Goddard Space Centre.

According to leading scientists in a recent paper in the esteemed journal Science, this spacecraft would dispel much existing uncertainty about the pace of climate change.

Wed, 2007-09-19 16:07Mitchell Anderson
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FOIA, NASA, DSCOVR - My Acronym Hell

My last posting was about my teeth-pulling exercise to get information from NASA about their bizarre decision to cancel DSCOVR.

Last year, I filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to NASA for all documents relating to the decision to cancel DSCOVR. Almost a year later, I got about 80 pages of documents - mostly letters from concerned scientists about the cancellation of the mission. NASA withheld all their internal documents so I filed an appeal. Last July, I got my response: Bupkis (that’s Yiddish for goat shit).

So in the interest of full disclosure, I am posting my FOIA request, all the documents from NASA, and my highly unsatisfactory appeal res
Wed, 2007-09-12 21:38Mitchell Anderson
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Uncover DSCOVR Part 3: Digging for Answers from NASA

My entry into the DSCOVR mission intrigue happened last year when I pitched the idea to SEED magazine for a feature article on the project.
 
DSCOVR was quietly killed by NASA in January 2006 and it seemed awfully strange to me that a fully completed climate satellite costing $100 million would be mothballed after it had been built.
 
Stranger still was that virtually every scientist I interviewed as I researched this piece expressed something between guarded disappointment to full-blown outrage that what they considered crucial mission had been canceled.
 
This is part 3 in Mitchell Anderson's investigative series on the DSCOVR climate satellite. Please help us in our research on this important project by donating to DeSmogBlog. Thanks to all those people who already have.
Thu, 2007-09-06 09:17Mitchell Anderson
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How Politics Conspired to Kill DSCOVR

This is the second in DeSmogBlog's investigative series called “Operation Uncover DSCOVR.
 
Back in 1998, before he wasn’t elected president, and long before he hit the Hollywood “A List” with An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore had an interesting idea.
 
It was a dream actually.
 
Gore woke one morning remembering how powerfully he was affected by the iconic “blue marble” photo taken on December 7, 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17 on their way to the moon.
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