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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.

28 Feb 2019

With the enactment of fiscal year 2019 appropriations, the budget for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is rising 11 percent to $6.9 billion. Missions to Jupiter’s moon Europa and a new lunar research initiative are among the beneficiaries of the increase. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope is funded at a lower level than the mission’s plans anticipated.

31 Jan 2019

As science agencies reboot after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, it is becoming clear that it will take them months to recover.

7 Dec 2018

The National Academies has issued a statement of task and selected the leaders for the next decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. Meanwhile, proponents of large projects are preparing their submissions for the survey.

28 Nov 2018

NASA’s renewed efforts to build a sustained human presence on and around the Moon have spurred plans to integrate lunar research with exploration and commercial activity. Meanwhile, international rivalries have prompted the Defense Department to reform its space activities, while that same competition puts pressure on NASA to pursue a more direct path to the lunar surface.

17 Oct 2018

In the past two months, the National Academies has released science strategies for astrobiology and the study of exoplanets. The documents recommend steps to maintain the current rapid rate of progress in those fields and to enable the detection of life elsewhere in the universe.

22 Aug 2018

At a recent hearing, senators and witnesses discussed NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life, weighing its benefits alongside science that has more direct societal applications. Witnesses also discussed ideas for improving the decadal surveys that guide NASA science.

9 Aug 2018

The midterm review of the National Academies planetary science decadal survey finds NASA has made strong progress in implementing the survey’s recommendations, including flagship missions to Mars and Europa. However, it warns Congress’ push for missions relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life beyond missions already recommended risks undermining the survey process.

2 Aug 2018

The House Science Committee held a two-day hearing last week to investigate the recent delays that will cause NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to breach its statutory cap on development costs. The hearing explored ways of increasing contractor accountability and the implications JWST’s troubles will have for NASA’s other science missions.

27 Jun 2018

At a recent hearing, the House Science Committee explored NASA’s methods for estimating mission costs and managing projects to minimize budget and schedule overruns. The hearing follows a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the agency’s project management performance has slipped.

20 Jun 2018

House and Senate appropriators are proposing 7 percent and 3 percent funding increases, respectively, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in fiscal year 2019. Within SMD, the House proposal would increase funding for Planetary Science by 24 percent, while the Senate proposal would increase funding for Astrophysics by 12 percent.

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