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NASA

FYI focuses on the programs and missions sponsored by the Science Mission Directorate, including in the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Earth Science Divisions. FYI also covers science-related missions supported by other directorates, including the International Space Station.

11 Oct 2017

At a hearing last week, members of the House Science Committee heard testimony about the status of domestic plutonium-238 supplies, an essential fuel for many robotic science missions. A Government Accountability Office report released at the same time recommends that the Department of Energy improve its long-term planning for producing Pu-238 and associated power systems.

4 Oct 2017

Last week, five representatives from the scientific community testified at a House Science Committee hearing on the August total eclipse, discussing eclipse-enabled research opportunities, future capabilities in heliophysics, and solar weather research and preparedness. They also spoke about the expansive public engagement efforts associated with the event.

7 Sep 2017

President Trump has nominated Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be NASA administrator. The former Navy aviator and three-term congressman has recently promoted an ambitious vision for space policy reform that would shift NASA’s focus away from scientific research in favor of human space exploration and the development of space-based infrastructure.

29 Aug 2017

A new National Academies report details the role that NASA’s large strategic missions play in the agency’s science portfolio. It recommends that decadal surveys better address the choices NASA faces in planning the missions and that NASA provide more public information about the missions' costs, management, and outputs.

3 Aug 2017

The House appropriations bill for NASA would raise the Science Mission Directorate’s $5.77 billion budget by 2 percent, while the Senate bill would cut it by 3 percent. As in previous years, the appropriations committees take opposing stances on funding for the Earth Science and Planetary Science Divisions.

31 Jul 2017

The Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill that would cut the topline budgets of NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 1 to 2 percent each.

21 Jul 2017

At a House Space Subcommittee hearing, witnesses and members emphasized the need to balance support for flagship missions, such as the Mars 2020 Rover and the Europa Clipper, with support for smaller programs, such as the new Discovery–class mission Psyche to study a metal asteroid.

30 Jun 2017

The House’s draft Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bill resembles last year’s version, rejecting or softening many of the cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2018.

15 Jun 2017

In back-to-back House hearings, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot firmly defended his agency’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, including proposals to eliminate support for five Earth Science missions and the Office of Education.

30 May 2017

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposes to decrease funding for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate by about 1 percent relative to enacted fiscal year 2017 appropriations. Earth Science would see a 9 percent decrease and the cancellation of some missions, while Planetary Science would return almost to the record funding levels it enjoyed in the early 2000s.

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