Houston, We Have A Big Problem

by Nao Emzed on September 23, 2015 - 5:56pm

Since a few decades, we started to be preoccupied by climate change, as we began to understand that a radical change in our daily habits might be the only solution to protect our future. However, it takes a long time for mentalities to evolve and at the moment, we’re not making enough efforts to make a difference. As a matter of fact, we’re starting to face important consequences, as the NASA recently announced that many of its facilities were at risk because of the rise of the sea level.

Michael J. Carlowicz, the chief technical writer of the agency’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate explains that: “The nation’s problem is also NASA’s problem, and not just because several satellites and hundreds of Earth scientists are monitoring the rising seas.” Indeed, more than 330 square miles of land and 60 000 employees’ jobs are in jeopardy.

The issue here is that all the NASA’s facilities were built along the shores, so that the launches of satellites and shuttles would pass over water instead of cities, which considerably reduces the risk of falling debris over the public. Although since half to two-thirds of NASA’s assets stand within 16 feet of the water, the recent increase of the sea level poses a new threat. As clear evidence: the shrinking dunes and the unstable shoreline near the Kennedy Space Center are now visible from the launch pads used for the Apollo and the Space Shuttle missions.

NASA researchers estimate that by the 2050’s, the biggest risk for the scientific structures would be an enormous storm over the southern states (meaning flooding risks). The total cost of all the damage would be, at least, $32 billion, including laboratories, launch pads, airfields, testing facilities and data centers. The other major reason of the rising level of the waters is the global melting of the glaciers.

To conclude, it’s sad to know that the most likely outcome of this situation is the relocation of the facilities, as ‘’NASA officials may have to seriously consider a move inland’’ instead of urging the populations and the governments to changes laws and make more efforts to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Plus, this ultimate solution would cost billions of dollars to the country anyways. 



In my opinion, the potential loss of NASA’s equipment or even the amount of money required to relocate the facilities is a problem, but I believe the true tragedy lies within the other consequences of climate change. For example, Canada’s forests are amongst the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change. These forests support a large amount of different lifeforms and ecosystems which are now at risk due to the change in climate. As you mentioned, the melting of the ice sheets and glaciers is largely responsible for the rising sea level, however it also poses another problem. The Arctic ecosystem has taken a toll for the worse, as climate change modifies the environmental factors that life in the Arctic has become accustomed to. Climate change is no longer a problem we can simply put off, we must take action now! A list of ways you can help lessen the effects of climate change can be found here: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-solutions/