President Trump in a White House ceremony on Monday signed a new directive aimed at sending U.S. astronauts back to the moon -- one that, while short on details, the administration insisted will restore the U.S. to its role as a leader in space exploration and help spur job growth.
Scientists used to wonder how common planets were throughout the universe, and now we know. They’re extremely common. They’re so common, in fact, it’s possible just to find another one while you’re trying to gather data on the one you already knew about. That’s what happened when astronomers recently turned their attention to the star K2-18. They found a bonus planet.
Before Cassini or Galileo, there were the Voyager probes. Launched in August and September of 1977, both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 continue to communicate with Earth via the Deep Space Network. Voyager 1 is farther from Earth than Voyager 2, due to differences in their missions and trajectories, at an estimated 141 AU from Earth (1 AU is the distance between Earth and the sun). On Friday, NASA engineers were able to successfully fire Voyager 1’s backup thrusters -- for the first time in 37 years.
Today, the most innovative research into space travel has shifted to the private sector, especially in the U.S. SpaceX's commercial rockets have not only cut the cost of launching into Earth orbit. They're precursors to bigger rockets the company hopes will send humans to Mars before the end of the 2020s, long before China's state-funded program achieves the same.
Uber is joining forces with NASA to develop an air traffic management system for its flying taxi service, the company announced Wednesday at a technology conference in Lisbon, as first reported by CNN. The ride-hailing firm first unveiled its ambitious plans for a flying car project last year, as part of Uber’s effort to transform the transportation industry.
In many cases, the aerospace industry is still a primarily male-dominated field. As of last year, one-third of NASA’s employees were women, according to an article by SiliconANGLE. With a new piece of legislation, Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-Connecticut) hope to encourage more women to enter jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.
"It's really about our future. We count on the innovations in STEM fields to better our lives," said Dr. Jemison. "Information technologies and personalized medicine, apps and different materials, they all help to change our lives. So we need to make sure we're making that investment into the future so we can continue to advance."
It is encouraging to see that NASA is leaning more towards integrating commercial capabilities into how space science missions are implemented, especially for cubesats and small satellites. It is imperative that NASA embrace the many commercial capabilities that are becoming available in the small-sat market, which may reach $20 billion/year globally in the next few years.
"Great for role playing space exploration missions," Lego said in a press release announcing the set on Wednesday (Oct. 18). "Explore the professions of some of the groundbreaking women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with the Lego Ideas Women of NASA set." [Gallery: First Photos of Lego’s "Women of NASA" Set]