Agriculture Secretary & Interior Secretary Join The National Space Council

President Biden issued an executive order expanding the national space council to give agriculture and the department of the interior a seat at the table.

The National Space Council works to advise and assist the president in creating policy for space.

The council’s newest member, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, says food security and space are interconnected.

“We’ve heard a lot about the Landsat satellite. But that imagery and location services is allowing American farmers to utilize climate smart agricultural practices, precision agriculture that will allow them to grow more with less land, less water, less inputs and obviously less greenhouse gas emissions.”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was also added to the council, to expand on their 50 year partnership with NASA to create Landsat images.

“Each day interior employees and people the world over make good use of the images of earned from the Landsat satellites. These images provide a foundation for high quality scientific information which enable interior to honor our trust responsibilities to Indian tribes, manage our nation’s lands and resources, protect our fish and wildlife, preserve our cultural heritage, respond to natural hazards and fulfill our broader missions.”

Vilsack says USDA also has a long history of partnering with NASA.

“I was surprised to know that USDA and NASA have over 120 projects working together across four separate mission areas on water management, real time crop assessment, quantifying carbon storage and sequestration, remote assessment of plant health. All of this is going to allow us agriculture to reach your goal and the president’s goal of a net zero future and delete the agricultural community in doing so.”

Vilsack says one of his favorite research projects… involves flowering palm trees that can help provide fruit for astronauts to extend their time in space.

The council will also be focusing on stem education and workforce development to get students excited about space and the technologies that can improve life on Earth.


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