Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You go to the future with the science you have

Posted by goatchurch at 5:32 AM
...not the science you'd rather not know.

The Lagrangian point is a popular place for Science Fiction yarns to pass through. For ten years there's been a plan to park a satellite called the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCVR) at that place in space to do things like observe the Earth from a distance, measure the activity of the sun from outside the magnetosphere, and other such things.

According to some news reports, after 90% of the costs of building this satellite has been spent, NASA has decided to cancel it. There is said to be a whiff of politics going on, and it has to do with the global warming denial industry.

One of the many bogus accounts of global warming explains that the ice is melting on Mars, just as it is on Earth, and there must be a common cause. Since there is no industrial release of CO2 on Mars, the CO2 released on Earth has nothing to do with it, so it's probably due to changes in the Solar radiation.

A detailed (sober) account of the climate studies on Mars is here, and a summary of what we know about recent changes in solar output is here (it hasn't changed since 1950).

Clearly, having a satellite out there designed to look at all these results would be a good thing, unless you already know the answer and aren't going to like it. The desmog article concludes:
Interestingly, a common complaint of climate change deniers has been that the satellite data used to develop climate models is unreliable. DSCOVR would go a long way to settling whatever honest debate remained about the reliability of those models.

Considering that these climate models are now driving enormous public policy decisions, one would think that DSCOVR would be a top priority. It certainly has been a priority of other governments. The French were so alarmed by the foot dragging by NASA they offered to send DSCOVR into space themselves at a greatly reduced cost. The Ukranian government even offered to launch DSCOVR for free aboard a Tsyklon IV rocket – the most reliable launch vehicle in the world.
Can anyone corroborate this story?

You know, from a pure narrative point of view, seen as a piece of science fiction, this story doesn't wash. A believable plot would require the President and higher officials to be part of on an alien conspiracy. After their mission of subverting and blocking all action in the proper direction of survival, the space-ship from Alpha Centauri lands and takes them away and repopulates the globe with green lizards.

It is unconscionable that such policies could be pursued by human beings destined to remain on the planet they are playing fast and loose with.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rebecca said...

Have you have heard the ultimate conspiracy theory? The poor can't move out of the way of climate change as fast as the rich. Once the population is reduced, the CO2 levels will go down. If not, the rich will farm the Canadian praires with robots.

(See Lenin's Tomb for a somewhat less snarky version of this).

8/29/2007 07:51:00 AM  
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