Office of Earth Science Enterprise (Code Y)

Associate Administrator: Dr. Ghassem R. Asrar

Public Affairs Contact: David E. Steitz, 202/358-1730

The total Fiscal Year 2002 Appropriations budget request for the Office
of Earth Science is $1,515 million; this is comprised of $1,278 million of
formerly Science, Aeronautics, and Technology Appropriation funding and
$237 million of formerly Mission Support Appropriation funding.


NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) carries out its mission through three broad goals:

  1. Science: Observe, understand, and model the Earth system to learn how it is
    changing, and the consequences for life on Earth;

  2. Applications: Expand and accelerate the realization of economic and societal
    benefits from Earth science, information and technology;

  3. Technology: Develop and adopt advanced technologies to enable mission success
    and serve national priorities. These goals are articulated in the Earth Science
    Enterprise Strategic Plan, available at:

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE), a leading government research and
development effort, is working to improve scientific understanding of the Earth system and
its response to natural and human-induced changes. This knowledge will enhance ability
to predict climate change, better understand variant weather patterns, and help mitigate
future natural hazards. NASA brings a unique vantagepoint from space, allowing global
views of Earth system change, and provides objective scientific information, via
observation, research, modeling and applications demonstration, to inform policy- and
decision-makers in both the public and private sectors.

NASA is currently deploying the first series of Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites that
will concurrently observe the major interactions of the land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and
life that comprise the Earth system. The work done in NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise
has a direct and indirect impact on everything from long-term climate forecasting to
disaster mitigation, fire prevention, environmental monitoring, disease prevention,
increased agricultural productivity, and improved urban and suburban planning.

The Earth Science Enterprise provides scientific answers to the fundamental
question: How is the Earth changing, and what are the consequences for life on Earth?

Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2002 budget request include:


This portion of the Enterprise comprises EOS ($372 million) and Earth Explorers ($85
million) satellite missions, information systems, and operations. The
EOS and Earth Explorers programs consist of multiple spacecraft designed to improve our
understanding of global climate change.

EOS and related missions in operation, development or preparation for launch through
2003 are:

  • QuikTOMS (2001) – is studying atmospheric ozone and aerosols
  • SAGE III (2001) – will study stratospheric aerosols and gases
  • Jason (2001) – will study ocean topography as a successor to the successful
    TOPEX/Poseidon mission, currently underway

  • Aqua (2001) – will study atmospheric temperature and humidity, clouds, sea-surface
    temperature, and the biosphere

  • GRACE (2001) – will observe time variations in Earth’s gravity field
  • ICEsat (2001/02) – will examine ice-sheet topography
  • SORCE (2002) – will explore solar irradiance, complementing ACRIMSAT, now in orbit
  • SeaWinds (2002) – an instrument on Japan’s ADEOS II satellite, will examine ocean
    winds as the successor to the ongoing QuikSCAT

  • Vegetation Canopy Lidar (TBD) – will study forest canopy height
  • Aura (2003) – will explore upper and lower atmospheric chemistry
  • Cloudsat (2003) – will provide three-dimensional cloud profiles
  • PICASSO-CENA (TBD) – will develop three-dimensional aerosol profiles

The EOS Data Information System (EOSDIS) ($253 million) has been serving thousands
of government and private sector users by providing available data and information from
NASA-sponsored programs since September 1995. EOSDIS will operate the EOS
spacecraft, and acquire and distribute the basic data they gather. This will lay the
groundwork for both the government and its commercial and academic partners to
generate the higher-level data products that will make the measurements more easily
understandable and usable by researchers, educators, policy-makers, and the public.

The Mission Operations Program ($52 million) acquires, processes and archives long-term
data sets and validated data products. Funding provides for operating ongoing spacecraft
missions and processing of acquired data.

Research and Technology — $517 million

The Earth Science Program science research effort ($357 million) is designed to look into
the five fundamental questions below that tie back into the overarching question being
asked about the global environment:
How is the Earth system changing, and what are the consequences for life
on Earth?

  • How is the global Earth system changing?
  • What are the primary causes of change in the Earth system?
  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?
  • What are the consequences of changes in the Earth system for human civilization?
  • How can we predict future changes in the Earth system?

Through long-term examination of the global environment, NASA hopes to provide
decision-makers with insight into the answers to these questions, based upon sound

In addition to ensuring a robust science program, this budget contains a vigorous
Technology Infusion program ($96 million) that supports development of key technologies
for future science missions. In addition to the baseline technology program, an Advanced
Technology Initiative will identify and invest in critical instrument, spacecraft and
information system technologies.

ESE’s technology strategy seeks to leverage the entire range of technology development
programs offering benefits in cost, performance and timeliness of future Earth science
process and monitoring campaigns. ESE’s strategy is to establish strong links with other
government programs to maximize mutual benefit from using open competitions for ESE-sponsored
technology programs to attract the best ideas and capabilities from the broad
technology community, including industry and academia.

Technology investments will be made in the following areas:

  • Advanced instrument and measurement technologies for new and/or lower-cost
    scientific investigations into the global environment;

  • Cutting-edge technologies, processes, techniques and engineering capabilities that
    reduce development and operations costs and mission risk, and support rapid
    implementation of productive, economical and timely missions;

  • Advanced end-to-end mission-information system technologies: technologies affecting
    the data flow from origination at the instrument detector through data archiving, for
    collecting and disseminating information about the Earth system, and enabling the
    productive use of Enterprise science and technology in the public and private sectors.

NASA celebrated a major milestone in 2000 with the launch of the EO-1 spacecraft, a
technology development test-bed. The spacecraft, which is testing new technologies to be
used in future Landsat continuity missions, carries Earth-observing instruments that are a
fraction of the size and were built at a fraction of the cost of previous remote sensing

The Applications, Education and Outreach ($63 million) will expand scientific knowledge
of the Earth which will result in practical applications beneficial to all Americans.
Examples of these applications may include: weather and hydrologic forecasts; prediction

of seasonal or longer-range climate changes; the prediction of impacts of environmental
changes on fisheries, agriculture and water resources; global air quality forecasts; and
natural hazards risk assessments. NASA’s ESE has a key role in demonstrating these
potential applications.

NASA’s emphasis is on viable applications, commercial and education programs that
demonstrate new remote-sensing data products for industry and regional and local
decision makers. The focus is on the dissemination of information to non-traditional Earth
science customers, such as the states, counties and regional managers and decision-makers.
Eventually NASA hopes that demonstration of these new concepts will allow
products to reach a much broader user base – every state in America.

ESE also is working to train the next generation of Earth scientists and to enable K-16
teachers to incorporate remote sensing information into their science curricula. This
interagency research and education program is producing a better understanding of
global environmental change while helping all students reach higher levels of
achievement in science and mathematics.