NASA

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.

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.

1 Jun 2018

Since his confirmation as NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine has expressed broad support for the agency’s scientific culture and missions, and has said his views on climate change now align with the scientific consensus. He also has advocated new approaches to designing missions to manage costs and increase nimbleness.

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10 May 2018

At a recent meeting of the National Academies’ Space Studies Board, NASA science leaders joined board members in reflecting on recent setbacks in the development of two flagship telescopes and debated the best path forward for the next astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey. NASA’s lead science official called for delaying the decadal survey and urged the board to move beyond proposing single, large missions.

4 May 2018

House Science Committee members and expert witnesses called for more robust space weather research, observations, and forecasting at a hearing last week. They also pushed for better defined roles in government, academia, and industry.

20 Apr 2018

By the narrowest margin in the history of the space agency, the Senate confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) as NASA administrator yesterday on a party-line vote of 50 to 49. The other chamber of Congress also made NASA news this week, with the House Science Committee advancing a NASA reauthorization bill after a contentious debate over funding recommendations for its Earth Science Division.

30 Mar 2018

Final spending legislation for fiscal year 2018 increases NASA’s Science Mission Directorate budget by 8 percent to $6.2 billion. The new funding will mainly benefit the Planetary Science Division, which is directed to ramp up two missions to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The Heliophysics and Astrophysics Divisions are receiving smaller increases, while the Earth Science Division’s budget remains steady.

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