Al Gore's inventions are hit-and-miss. The Internet? Seems to be a success. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), on the other hand? Not doing so well, according to an article in this week's Science. NASA has shelved DSCOVR, formerly dubbed Triana, due to budgetary considerations, even though it is largely finished.
DSCOVR, first proposed by Gore in 1998 and originally slated for a 2001 launch, was designed to provide a real-time look at the Earth's sunlit side by hovering at the Lagrange-1 point, where the gravities of the Earth and the sun balance out. From that vantage point, DSCOVR would have provided, among other things, data on the reflection, absorption, and re-emission of radiant solar energy, as well as the impact of those factors on our changing climate.