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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.

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.

3 Oct 2016

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has advanced a NASA authorization bill that focuses on space exploration and seeks to ensure stability at the space agency through the upcoming presidential transition. Unlike the House-passed NASA authorization bill, the Senate bill has only a few provisions specific to NASA’s science divisions.

16 Sep 2016

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NASA held an event this week to explain the rationale for the administration’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission. Congress has been skeptical about the mission's value, and this skepticism was further confirmed in a new Senate NASA reauthorization bill released yesterday.

13 Sep 2016

The National Academies has released a report on the senior reviews that NASA conducts to recommend extensions of its science missions beyond their planned end dates. The report praises NASA’s management of its extended-mission portfolio and offers recommendations for augmenting the review process.

17 Aug 2016

The National Academies has released its midterm assessment of the 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics. A key theme is that increasingly expensive top-priority projects are responsible for outstanding breakthroughs, but are also putting pressure on high-priority medium-scale projects.

15 Jul 2016

Leaders in astronomy, astrophysics, and astrobiology received a warm welcome at a joint subcommittee hearing this week. The witnesses fielded a wide range of questions, including on how new projects are prioritized and funded, how the scientific workforce is being developed and diversified, and the search for extraterrestrial life.

30 Jun 2016

The House Science Committee convened thought leaders in space exploration last month for a hearing on the capabilities needed for NASA’s proposed human journey to Mars. Wide-ranging discussions touched on in-space propulsion, deep space habitation, and artificial gravity.

2 Jun 2016

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee would increase NASA spending in fiscal year 2017, reversing the president’s proposed discretionary cuts to the space agency including some of the proposed cuts to the Science Mission Directorate.

26 May 2016

About one month after the Senate Appropriations Committee reported legislation with middling spending for four of the main science agencies in fiscal year 2017, the House Appropriations Committee earlier this week cleared its bill and committee report. Like in the Senate, the House committee includes no significant spending increases for the four agencies’ research accounts.

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