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6 Science Policy Considerations and Recommend at ions INTRODUCTION In order to make progress on the grand themes, the strate- gic approach described in this report must be implemented with a specific program that encompasses global, long-term satellite measurements, complementary in situ observations, and concur- rent modeling on state-of-the-art computers. The type of system the task group envisions will provide data at a far greater rate than at present; major efforts in technology and coordination will be required to adequately process and distribute the data to the research and operational communities. For this system to oper- ate efficiently and to be cost-effective, there must be coordination and cooperation both on the national level among those agencies involved with earth science and at the international level among all those countries that participate in either satellite or in situ programs. RECOMMENDATIONS The task group is cognizant of the many significant policy issues associated with carrying out all of the elements of a Mission to Planet Earth. Although a complete discussion of these issues is 106

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107 beyond the scope of this report, there are several import ant policy areas that merit comment. 1. National Coordination of Agency Roles The task group recommends that full coordination of the U.S. federal agencies involved in the civil earth science effort be de- veloped at both the programmatic and the budgetary [ever. Full cooperation among the agencies involved in the civilian earth sci- ence effort NASA, NOAA, NSF, USGS, DOD, and others is required to develop effective, coordinated programs and budgets in proportion to assigned tasks. The assignment of the appropri- ate relative roles of NASA as a research and development agency, NSF as a supporter of basic research, and NOAA and USGS as operational, mission-oriented agencies in earth sciences is a test case. If significant responsibilities are shifted to NOAA, then new funding wiB be required there as well as assiduous policy atten- tion. The task group recognizes the unportance of establishing clear roles, especially as we look to measurements on longer and longer time scales. Moreover, coordination with the commercial sector is essential, and any comprehensive program must include this sector as a major player. The absence of a well-coordinated organizational structure at the federal level for conducting global earth science research has several symptoms: (a) The distinction between "research" and "operations" or "monitoring" is sometimes artificially forced, which has negative consequences. For instance, data taken by monitoring services that would be valuable for research purposes are not retained, or are retained in aggregated form, thereby obliterating possibly significant details; improved insights and procedures resulting from research do not affect operations as much as they should; and long- term measurements necessary for research may not be continued. These problems tend to arise most strongly when there is a division of responsibility among organizations. In the earth sciences, this is most notable between NASA and NOAA, but it also arises in activities involving DOD, NSF, and USGS. Particular attention should be directed to matters that may fall through the cracks because of the distinction between arm search" and ~operations," or other distinctions generated by non- scientific considerations. Examples include climatological studies

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108 that use regularly taken surface data; surface observation systems that require data transmission facilitated by spacecraft; data taken by DOD satellites that are currently unavailable but may become available later with a change of policy (e.g., radar altimetry by Geosat); measurements on the Earth's surface necessary to make effective use of space missions for certain purposes (e.g., geologi- cal and ecological "ground truths" needed to utilize Landsat for these purposes); and observations from the Earth's surface using spacecraft that are no longer, or never were, active NASA projects, such as tracking of LAGEOS and NAVS TAR to obtain geodetic positions for crustal motion studies. (b) Traditionally, different levels of funding among agencies have often led to severe imbalances in space-related programs and thence to pressure for NASA to undertake aspects of the work that might normally be the province of another agency. An example is the stratospheric ozone program, in which NASA's level of activity relative to other agencies is much higher than contemplated in the charge by Congress. There appears to be a need for more thorough oversight by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in concert with OMB budget review to assure adequate funding in other agencies for a balanced effort. (c) Interagency cooperation is essential to the advancement of the earth sciences, yet such cooperation in the area of satellites has not fared well at OMB. For example, the NSCAT program log- ically requires a NOAA contribution for civilian data distribution, and GRM would benefit from USGS interaction. Yet the prevail- ing mood of OMB has been that if an agency sees a major role in a particular satellite program, that agency should pay the full cost. Satellites are expensive and cannot be absorbed into exist- ing agency budgets new funds must be found. For each satellite program required to make a major new impact in our understand- ing of the Earth, the appropriate agencies should receive a fair hearing as to their need for new funds. A joint budget review for those earth-science-related agencies (NOAA, USGS, Navy) under cabinet departments, together with independent agencies (NASA, NSF, EPA) may be the best solution. (~) There is great variability within NASA in utilization of the university and industrial research communities, and consequently in the quality of research and in the multiplicity of approaches important to assure a reasonably optimum solution. The earth

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109 sciences in NASA lag significantly in these matters behind plan- etary sciences, astronomy, and space physics, perhaps because of the "applications" tradition. Progress Is being made in developing peer-reviewed grant programs in several areas, but it is uneven. Some activities have been sheltered from this competition on the argument that they are unique functions necessarily done in-house. While it is correct that some research and technology must be done in-house, the more ~unique" such activity is, the greater is its need for close scrutiny by the best experts available to assure that it is done well. (e) It is the task group's understanding that a reexamination of agency roles in earth-oriented space science is currently under way in the federal government, and that an enlarged scientific role is being explored for NOAA, in addition to its operational respon- sibilities. For such a shift to be effective, NOAA must develop a much more intensive interaction with the relevant scientific com- munity in universities and elsewhere. This intense interaction in turn requires much more support and encouragement from the administration than has been evident In funding and personnel decisions affecting NOAA since 1976. 2. International Coordination and Cooperation The task group recommends that steps needed to assure the required level of internationalparticipation and cooperation be taken at the early stages of program planning. Earth science programs in other countries and international agencies are strong, and expected to become stronger. The co- ordination of the many international earth observing spacecraft scheduled to fly before the year 2000 is one of the most impor- tant and beneficial objectives for the earth sciences. The United States must view its own program as one contribution to an overall international program both to obtain access to active scientific and technical communities, and to develop the global system of in situ observations. International participation is needed to sup- port space observing systems and to deploy and operate in situ measuring devices. Site selection, standardization of equipment, data rates and formats, and data exchange protocols are examples of the issues that must be resolved to ensure the success of Mis- sion to Planet Earth. There is an excellent record of international

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110 cooperation in large-scale projects; examples include the Interna- tional Geophysical Year of 1957, the Geodynamics Program, the Global Atmospheric Research Program, the International Litho- sphere Project, the Ocean Drilling Programs, the World Climate Research Program, and the Man and the Biosphere Program. The International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, which builds on the developing concepts of global habitability and biogeochemical cy- cles and is aimed at an understanding of global change, is still in the planning stage. The program envisioned here is designed to provide the long-term global synoptic data required to under- stand the whole earth system, including all of the disciplines in the programs mentioned above. 3. NASA's Role in the Solid Earth Sciences NASA is to be commended for the strong role it has played to date in earth sciences, ranging from atmospheric to oceanic to land surface processes to solid earth sciences. The use of satellites in studies of the Earth's interior is as old as the space program. From the beginning, sateldites were used to more precisely define the figure of the Earth and to investigate the distribution of mass in its interior. The intervening decades have seen the development of NASA satellite missions and ground systems that have been more and more specifically designed for planetary-scale, solid earth science measurements. The technological advances on which these measurements have been based were the products of, or directly linked to, space technology. NASA should continue to play this key role in the development of space-based technology and the complementary earth-based systems, together with the necessary data systems, as new observatories for the Earth are developed. NASA has been able to broaden the base of its solid earth sci- ence studies through interagency agreements. At the same tune, the task group recommendls that NASA develop and support a more comprehensive program in the solid earth sciences within NASA itself. In developing such a program, NASA should not constrain itself to the use of space technology, but must be prepared to ac- cept direct programmatic and financial responsibilities covering a broader spectrum of research activities in solid earth research. The task group endorses the position of the Earth Observing System (EOS) Science and Mission Working Group, which recognized that in future NASA missions, "satellite-obta~ned data must be used in

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111 concert with data from more conventional techniques," and noted that, in addressing multidisciplinary problems, "observational ca- pabilities must be employed which range in scale from detailed in situ and laboratory measurements to the global perspective offered by satellite remote sensing." This philosophy fits perfectly with NASA's role in planetary sciences and indicates the major role that NASA can take in studies of the Earth as a planet. While NASA has developed a comprehensive program in the planetary sciences, such plans have never included the Earth, in spite of the fact that it Is impossible to design a program of real value for solid earth science that does not involve all of the requisite studies. We have an opportunity to define a comprehensive program that deals with all of the most exciting and most important questions in the solid earth sciences today: questions such as the primary differentiation of the Earth, the origin of magmas, the driving forces for plate tectonics, and the generation of the Earth's atmosphere. NASA's engineering capability in advanced technology, such as satellite systems and data base management, is essential to the accomplishment of these objectives. Clearly, such studies must be carried out with the other agencies that support basic research in earth sciences- notably NSF, USGS, and NOAA but a strong program in NASA itself must be maintained.

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