NASA - Science

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.

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.

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.

5 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 3.1 percent increase for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Planetary Science will receive a 12 percent increase and is instructed to proceed with a Europa lander mission. Heliophysics will receive a smaller increase while Earth Science funding will remain unchanged. As work on the James Webb Space Telescope ramps down, total funds allocated to Astrophysics activities will decrease.

3 Nov 2016

NSF is currently undertaking a formal process by which it will determine whether or not to divest from the Arecibo and Green Bank Observatories, with final decisions for each facility expected within the next year and a half.

27 Oct 2016

Last week, the White House announced a new initiative promoting public-private partnerships for the development and use of small satellites. The announcement comes as interest grows in using small satellites as platforms for scientific research.

13 Oct 2016

On Oct. 5 and 6, a National Academies committee studying NASA’s large strategic science missions held a meeting at which NASA officials and current and former congressional staff members presented. Committee members and presenters confronted pressing questions concerning what role the missions play in accomplishing the agency’s science goals and in sustaining broader scientific communities.

5 Oct 2016

Thomas Zurbuchen, a specialist in solar and heliospheric physics and a proponent of entrepreneurship, has been named the new head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

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