New chief scientist wants NASA to be about climate science, not just space

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  • Katherine Calvin was on Monday appointed Chief Scientist of NASA.
  • In this interview with Businesshala, Calvin explains that she wants people to think of NASA as a leading voice on climate science, not just space.
  • Among other goals, she hopes to make climate science easier to find online.

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New top scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration want the famed space agency to be the leading voice on climate change science as well.

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“When people listen to NASA, I want them to think about planetary science as well as climate science,” said Katherine Calvin, Who was appointed as the Chief Scientist of NASA on Monday,

“All of NASA’s chief scientists have special areas. Mine is the climate,” Calvin told Businesshala, speaking from NASA Headquarters in Washington DC.

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The agency already does a lot of scientific work that deals with climate change. Kelvin’s role will be to connect NASA scientists to other scientists and to communicate their science outside the agency.

“NASA is already a world leader in climate,” Calvin told Businesshala. “And so I’m just communicating that science and connecting it to other agencies, to the public.”

NASA has more than two dozen satellites that orbit Earth and measure climate change variables, such as changes in oceans, clouds and carbon dioxide levels. NASA uses this data for climate modeling and forecasting.

The agency also develops technologies that can be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

For example, NASA is working to make flights more efficient so that they use less fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Calvin said.

Kelvin’s will work to make NASA’s climate data easier to find, so users don’t have to lug around a bunch of different websites.

Specifications are still in progress. “But the idea is to get all the information that’s relevant where people can find it,” Calvin said. She specifically wants to make sure that NASA data is accessible to underserved communities.

Calvin comes to NASA from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Maryland, where she has worked since 2008.

New climate technologies give him hope.

“People are innovative, we flew a helicopter to Mars,” Calvin said. “There are a lot of smart people at NASA and elsewhere, they are developing technologies that can help us mitigate or adapt to climate change.”

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