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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.

With NASA’s cost estimates for the Mars Sample Return mission rising, criticism is building in the scientific community and among members of Congress that it is siphoning money from other projects.

House Science Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) convened a hearing last week to build support for his proposal to remove the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the Commerce Department and make it an independent agency. Committee Democrats did not take a firm stance on the idea, seeking additional perspectives.

As Nicky Fox takes over leadership of NASA's Science Mission Directorate from Thomas Zurbuchen, she inherits an ambitious project portfolio that is beginning to strain against resource limitations.

Science agencies are releasing details of President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget request, which prioritizes research related to emerging technologies and climate change and includes a new emphasis on fusion energy.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate received a 2% budget increase in fiscal year 2023, a small boost relative to other science agencies, and budgets are under strain across its portfolio.

An independent review has linked the recent one-year delay in the launch of NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission to staff shortages and inadequate communications across Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the project.

Over the last several years, Congress has passed multi-pronged policy initiatives and provided billions of dollars in funding to spur the deployment of “advanced” nuclear reactors, and a sprawling array of projects are now in progress.

The latest iteration of the National Academies planetary science decadal survey is the first to undertake detailed examinations of astrobiology, the integration of science with crewed exploration, planetary defense, and the state of the planetary science profession.

The new National Academies decadal survey for planetary science prioritizes completion of the Mars Sample Return mission, new flagship missions to Uranus and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and a slate of candidate concepts for medium-scale missions.

NASA’s science budget is increasing by 4% in fiscal year 2022 and the Biden administration is seeking a 5% increase for fiscal year 2023. The agency’s Earth Science Division would receive a relatively large boost under the proposal, but there would be some pressure on the budgets for the Planetary Science, Astrophysics, and Heliophysics Divisions.