The White House sent Congress a 30-page message yesterday emphasizing the importance to the United States of science and technology and asking for congressional support for the scientific programs requested in the fiscal 1980 budget by President Carter.
"We are in the midst of a remarkable era of explosive growth in knowledge and its use by society, unparalleled in any period of history." Carter said in his message to Congress. "Strong support for science and technology is one of the most important ways to repare for the future."
While charting no new course for U.S. technology, he renewed White House interest in areas he has already given high priority ,such as research to extract clean fuels from coal and shale. He repeated his support for solar research and nuclear fusion, but only as sources of energy "for the longer term."
Carter pointed out that "as greater demands are placed on our water supply," the nation needs to invest more in finding and conserving water. He said he has asked the Interior Department and the White House science adviser's office to set research priorities "aimed at meeting" future water needs, especially in the arid but still gorwing western half of the United States.
In health, Carter said his administration will emphasize "the prevention of disease" rather than just its cure. He said it is his goal to "reduce unwanted pregnancy, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse among adolescents."
"We are also placing more emphasis," he said, "on the causes of common disabling conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, neurological and digestive diseases."
The president also stressed international cooperation in science, especially in the expensive exploratory regions of space research, drilling in the deep oceans for oil and gas and the understanding of natural forces like earthquakes and global changes in climate.
Carter said the next few years could see the United States entering into joint programs to build fusion research reactors, large telescopes and atomic particle accelerators. He said the United States is already discussing with other nations a program to drill into the offshore continental margins at the edge of oceanic basins in the search for oil.
"As the cost of large-scale research programs and facilities rises, all countries find the financial support increasingly burdensome," Carter said. "We must join together to support the most expensive and significant projects."