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Karen St. Germain on NASA’s Earth Science Decadal Survey Implementation

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Karen St. Germain
Karen St. Germain

Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science division, said her top priority will be finding ways to implement the Earth science decadal survey, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.

“The decadal survey is a pretty ambitious plan that also calls on us to deliver on the program of record from the prior decadal,” St. Germain said Tuesday at an online meeting of NASA’s Earth Science Technology Forum. “We’ve got a fairly encumbered Earth science budget for the next several years, so one challenge will be starting up the new decadal missions within the resources that we have.”

She explained that technology improvements, rising commercial Earth observation capabilities and increasing demand for actionable information to study environmental conditions like climate change are some of the factors that pose challenges in executing the recommendations from the decadal survey.

St. Germain, who joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in early June 2020, said she would use her experience at NOAA to help improve collaboration with NASA in the field of Earth observation.

NASA’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 requested $1.77 billion for the Earth science division, which secured $1.97 billion in FY 2020 appropriations.

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