The administration genuinely appears to be motivated to accomplish real human space exploration goals within its term of office. It remains unclear, however, whether a sufficient budget will actually be allotted to enable execution of its ambitious policy, either in whole or in part. Federal budgets are challenging—and will be for the foreseeable future--but there is an extremely compelling reason why the administration should go “all in” on this plan and propose a budget that will enable the United States to aggressively move forward.
The basic outline of this mission was presented in mid-December at American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans. JPL’s Anthony Freeman called the plan “nebulous,” noting that the mission doesn’t even have a name yet. The goal is to launch the as-yet theoretical probe in 2069, the one-hundred year anniversary of the moon landing. The design of the craft, launch vehicle, and propulsion system all remain unknowns.
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."