America's Future in Space - Aligning the Civil Space Pgm. w.

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Additional info for America's Future in Space - Aligning the Civil Space Pgm. w. National Needs - NRC

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To expand the frontiers of human activities in space. Human spaceflight continues to challenge technology, utilize unique human capabilities, bring global prestige, and excite the public’s imagination. Space provides almost limitless opportunities for extending the human experience to new frontiers. • To provide technological, economic, and societal benefits that contribute solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems. Space activities provide economic opportunities, stimulate innovation, and support services that improve the quality of life.

Civil space program is to provide observations of Earth from the vantage point of space. The resulting data can help scientists and policy makers to understand the physical mechanisms that control the climate system of Earth and the influence that humans are having on them, as well as to make projections and develop future climate scenarios.  Citizens and governments now need to understand current and future regional consequences of climate change, including how precipitation patterns and habitability and productivity of specific regions can change; by how much, and when, sea levels can rise or ice sheets melt; and how alternative approaches for providing critical energy resources will relate to future climatic conditions.

While the committee acknowledges that there is inherent high risk in these ventures and that their ultimate success is not assured, of more significance and importance is the fact that there is entrepreneurial activity in the space sector and private capital being made available to invest in new space systems and capabilities. Another key role that the space economy plays within the general economy is that of being a leading-edge consumer and driver of technology. Given the harsh and unforgiving environment of space and the difficulty of getting out of Earth’s gravity well, the space industry often requires cutting-edge technology.

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