Several years ago I wrote extensively on the then mothballed DSCOVR mission including filing four freedom on information requests to NASA, NOAA and the White House.
Thankfully this innovative experiment finally flew on February 12, 2015 - fifteen years after originally scheduled. Science and politics should never mix and DSCOVR was sadly mired in the latter from the start. Many in the scientific community were quietly outraged that that this novel mission was buried during the Bush Administration - particularly given the urgent need for better data on the Earth's albedo.
Although much fine science is done in low Earth orbit, this methodology has inherent limitations. In spite of billions spent on CERES and CLARREO missions, the gap in the Earth's radiative budget with available data remains several times larger than the climate signature scientists are seeking to study. If CLARREO was launched tomorrow we could still not detect the largest climate trends until 2031.
Sometimes its better to study an elephant with binoculars than a microscope. Low Earth orbit instruments can only see our planet in thin strips and often take a day to return to same place. DSCOVR will return coincident data of the entire sunlit disc of our planet and, along with Moon calibration, provide much more clarity on the energy budget of our warming planet.
Space weather monitoring is vital, however it is remarkable after all these years that DSCOVR still has to downplay the Earth monitoring aspect of mission much like a teenager buying an armload of groceries along with that box of condoms...
These postings are from several years ago when there was still a need to politically push for this mission. Thankfully the politics is over and science can now begin. However I have a hunch that much of the DSCOVR story is yet to be told and I remain keenly interested in this issue. If anyone close to the mission has information or documents they would like to share in confidence, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail me at:
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