Apollo-scale clean energy research plan proposed by leading figures: Global Apollo Programme

Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights). This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public. This record includes preview images and links to full resolution versions up to 21,600 pixels across. Much of the information contained in this image came from a single remote-sensing device-NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS. Flying over 700 km above the Earth onboard the Terra satellite, MODIS provides an integrated tool for observing a variety of terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric features of the Earth. The land and coastal ocean portions of these images are based on surface observations collected from June through September 2001 and combined, or composited, every eight days to compensate for clouds that might block the sensor’s view of the surface on any single day. Two different types of ocean data were used in these images: shallow water true color data, and global ocean color (or chlorophyll) data. Topographic shading is based on the GTOPO 30 elevation dataset compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS Data Center. MODIS observations of polar sea ice were combined with observations of Antarctica made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s AVHRR sensor—the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. The cloud image is a composite of two days of imagery collected in visible light wavelengths and a third day of thermal infra-red imagery over the poles. Global city lights, derived from 9 months of observations from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, are superimposed on a darkened land surface map. Metadata Sensor Terra/MODIS Visualization Date 2002-02-08 . All Sensors MODIS . All Satellites Terra MODIS . All Categories Collections Blue Marble Blue Marble 2002

We went to the moon. Not because it was easy but because it was hard. In an open letter to the Guardian, leading figures have called today for an ambitious initiative to make clean energy cheaper than coal launching the Global Apollo Programme.

You can read the letter here, but it opens with: “We, the undersigned, believe that global warming can be addressed without adding significant economic costs or burdening taxpayers with more debt. A sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world.”

It concludes: “Just as with the Apollo space missions of the 1960s, great scientific minds must now be assembled to find a solution to one of the biggest challenges we face.”

In JFK’s famous speech he stated: “We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”

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    The signatories below choose to save our fragile planet. Join them.

    David Attenborough
    Professor Brian Cox
    Paul Polman CEO, Unilever
    Arunabha Ghosh CEO, Council on Energy Environment and Water
    Ed Davey Former UK energy secretary
    Nicholas Stern IG Patel professor of economics and government, LSE
    Bill Hare Founder and CEO, Climate Analytics
    Nilesh Y Jadhav Programme director, Energy Research Institute @NTU, Singapore
    Niall Dunne Chief sustainability officer, BT
    Carlo Carraro Director, International Centre for Climate Governance
    Professor Brian Hoskins Chair, Grantham Institute
    Mark Kenber CEO, The Climate Group
    Ben Goldsmith Founder, Menhaden Capital
    Sabina Ratti Executive director, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)
    John Browne Chairman, L1 Energy
    Zac Goldsmith MP
    Professor Martin Siegert Co-director, Grantham Institute
    Professor Joanna Haigh Co-director, Grantham Institute, and vice-president of Royal Meteorological Society
    Peter Bakker President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
    Dr Fatima Denton African Climate Policy Centre
    Denys Shortt CEO, DCS Group
    Adair Turner Former chairman, Financial Services Authority
    Gus O’Donnell Former cabinet secretary
    Richard Layard London School of Economics
    Professor John Shepherd
    Martin Rees Astronomer royal