Gore's satellite would give 24-hour view of Earth
March 13, 1998
Web posted at: 3:10 p.m. EST (2010 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Under instructions from Vice President Al
Gore, NASA is scrambling to put a satellite in space that for
the first time would broadcast live pictures of the Earth 24
hours a day for Internet users and television outlets.
The project, which would need approval by Congress, is
expected to cost between $20 million and $50 million. Gore
sees it as an invaluable resource for scientific, educational
and weather research.
It would show hurricanes and other threatening weather
patterns, forest fires, cloud formations and other phenomena
in real time. There are no full-Earth images now available,
although existing satellites track regions of the world.
The vice president announced the program Friday at a
technology conference at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in Cambridge.
"As we connect all our classrooms to the Internet, we have
the opportunity to bring new education and potential
scientific projects as well as global weather observations to
millions of American classrooms and living rooms via
television and computer," Gore told an audience of academics,
industry leaders and politicians.
An adventure for science buffs
White House officials said the endeavor is the vice
president's pet project, and that he persuaded NASA officials
to embrace it.
Officials involved said the satellite would orbit at a point
of equal gravity between the Earth and sun, so that unlike
traditional satellites that orbit the Earth, this one will
provide a constant picture of the sliver of Earth that is
Gore's primary purpose in pushing the project is his belief
that science buffs would be fascinated by the chance to
access an around-the-clock snapshot of Earth. But the
officials said the satellite also will transmit data that
will aid weather forecasting and serve other educational
The program would advance Gore's reputation as a computer
buff and environmentalist as the 2000 presidential race
nears. Gore hopes to have the satellite in space by 2000.
Correspondent John King and The Associated Press contributed
to this report.