Report: Majority of NASA's $32 billion facilities at risk to sea level rise

The majority of NASA infrastructure including laboratories, launchpads and testing facilities - worth about $32 billion - is at risk to sea level rise, according to a report recently released by the space administration.

NASA says half to two-thirds of its facilities nationwide are within 16 feet of sea level.

“With at least $32 billion in laboratories, launch pads, airfields, testing facilities, data centers and other infrastructure spread out across 330 square miles, plus 60,000 employees, NASA has an awful lot of people and property in harm’s way,” according to the report released Aug. 26.

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In Florida, Kennedy Space Center, its launch pads and buildings, stand just a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean – a perch that puts them in danger of losing facilities to sea level rise.

The article on NASA’s Earth Observatory website, says NASA’s most famous center is built primarily on coastal marshland about 5 to 10 feet above sea level.

Based on historic photos and records, it’s estimated the beach in front of Kennedy has moved inland by as much as 200 feet.

“We consider sea-level rise and climate change to be urgent,” Nancy Bray, spaceport integration and services director for Kennedy says in the article.

NASA, with the help of University of Florida researchers, have been studying how best to fortify Kennedy. The seas off Kennedy could rise 5 to 8 inches by the 2050s.

Read more about NASA’s efforts here.

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