NASA chief scientist wants new, additional mission for agency -- climate

The new chief scientist at NASA wants to add a mission to the space agency, looking at both the Earth and the heavens.

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Katherine Calvin was appointed as NASA’s chief scientist this week.

“When people hear NASA, I want them to think of climate science alongside planetary science,” Calvin told CNBC.

She said her specialty is climate, explaining that all of the NASA chief scientists have a distinct field of expertise.

But the mission is not new in Calvin’s eyes.

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

NASA tracks the climate with dozens of satellites that orbit the Earth, observing changes in the oceans, clouds and carbon dioxide levels.

It also uses the information and creates technology to help reverse the effects of what we are doing to the climate, like using less fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions during flights, Calvin told CNBC.

She also wants to take all of the information that NASA gathers and centralize it in one place instead of it being spread across the internet.

NASA is still working out how to do that, “but the idea is to get all the information that’s relevant in a place where people can find it,” Calvin told CNBC.

Calvin has worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute and has co-authored more than 100 publications, many focusing on growing populations and the effects on agriculture and water scarcity in light of climate change, according to NASA.

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