Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History

Overview

This book offers an informed and revealing account of NASA’s involvement in the scientific understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since the nineteenth century, scientists have attempted to understand the complex processes of the Earth’s atmosphere and the weather created within it. This effort has evolved with the development of new technologies—from the first instrument-equipped weather balloons to multibillion-dollar meteorological ...

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Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History

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Overview

This book offers an informed and revealing account of NASA’s involvement in the scientific understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since the nineteenth century, scientists have attempted to understand the complex processes of the Earth’s atmosphere and the weather created within it. This effort has evolved with the development of new technologies—from the first instrument-equipped weather balloons to multibillion-dollar meteorological satellite and planetary science programs.

Erik M. Conway chronicles the history of atmospheric science at NASA, tracing the story from its beginnings in 1958, the International Geophysical Year, through to the present, focusing on NASA’s programs and research in meteorology, stratospheric ozone depletion, and planetary climates and global warming. But the story is not only a scientific one. NASA’s researchers operated within an often politically contentious environment. Although environmental issues garnered strong public and political support in the 1970s, the following decades saw increased opposition to environmentalism as a threat to free market capitalism.

Atmospheric Science at NASA critically examines this politically controversial science, dissecting the often convoluted roles, motives, and relationships of the various institutional actors involved—among them NASA, congressional appropriation committees, government weather and climate bureaus, and the military.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review - Kristine C. Harper

As one of the latest books in the New Series in NASA History, Conway's project introduces a new aspect of space science that will be of interest to scholars of this field.

Quest - Roger D. Launius

Excellent.

Choice

Comprehensive history... recommended.

American Historical Review
As one of the latest books in the New Series in NASA History, Conway's project introduces a new aspect of space science that will be of interest to scholars of this field.

— Kristine C. Harper

Choice

Comprehensive history... recommended.

Quest
Excellent.

— Roger D. Launius

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801889844
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/7/2008
  • Series: New Series in NASA History
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Erik M. Conway is a historian at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and author of High-Speed Dreams: NASA and the Technopolitics of Supersonic Transportation, 1945–1999 and Blind Landings: Low-Visibility Operations in American Aviation, 1918–1958, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations Introduction 1
1 Establishing the Meteorology Program 11
2 Developing Satellite Meteorology 39
3 Constructing a Global Meteorology 64
4 Planetary Atmospheres 94
5 NASA Atmospheric Research in Transition 122
6 Atmospheric Chemistry 154
7 The Quest for a Climate Observing System 198
8 Missions to Planet Earth: Architectural Warfare 243
9 Atmospheric Science in the Mission to Planet Earth 276 Conclusion 312 Epilogue 321 Notes 325 Index 375 Color illustrations follow page 140
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