NASA has released a plan to protect its missions and facilities from the ravages of climate change.
The US space agency’s facilities, vehicles, equipment and infrastructure face threats related to climate change. Approximately two-thirds of agency assets are located within 16 feet of mean sea level along America’s coasts.
Some of these assets are located in areas already experiencing high water levels and other impacts from sea level rise. Temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather events are expected to affect others.
“NASA has unique assets it must protect – scientific equipment and capabilities that allow us to understand this climate crisis on Earth as well as explore the universe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Thankfully, we have the ingenuity and engineering capability to ensure our agency’s resources remain resilient from this growing threat.
“NASA is committed to safeguarding our mission in the decades to come, and through the data we provide to the world, we’ll help other agencies make sure they can do the same.”
Last month NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans was damaged by Hurricane Ida, which tore panels from the roof of several buildings and cut power to the facility.
"Damage to the roofs of several buildings have been confirmed and includes loose panels, panels removed during the storm, debris and water damage," NASA officials wrote in an update.
"Michoud remains on limited generator power for essential areas. Due to no power in the factory, assessments inside have been limited and by flashlight only."
The plan is part of President Biden’s “whole-of-government approach” to confronting the climate crisis. Federal agencies face rising maintenance and repair costs due to more frequent and extreme weather events, health and safety challenges to employees for work outside, and potential issues with program effectiveness.
To address these and other challenges, President Biden prioritised federal agency climate adaptation and resilience planning. Through this approach, NASA and 22 other large agencies developed climate action plans, to address their most significant climate risks and vulnerabilities.