The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, which funds the U.S. government for the remainder of the fiscal year. NASA received $19.65 billion -- its best budget since 2010 -- and the Planetary Science Division saw its budget increase to $1.846 billion -- its best budget in more than ten years.
Space is the subject of much wonder and fantasy, as well as research and debate. Currently, that debate tends to center around whether or not funding for space exploration and research should be cut in favor of other pressing needs, such as education and the environment, and it should not be.
Humanity has been shooting things into space for a few decades now, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. What we haven’t gotten so good at is bringing things back down. Scientists have been sounding the alarm about the buildup of space junk for years, a point that was reinforced at the recent European Conference on Space Debris.
Last week, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) may have captured the first ever images of the edge of a black hole. As eager astronomers await the arrival of the pictures (which sadly will take a few months, as the hard drives containing them are stuck in Antarctica until the harsh winter gives way to safer flying conditions), the rest of us are left to wonder: what, exactly, should we expect to see? What does a black hole look like, really?
The findings are the results of 12 years of investigation by the Cassini spacecraft and were released in a paper from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal "Science." "It could be a potential source for energy from any microbes," Spilker noted. "We now know that Enceladus has almost all of the ingredients you would need for life here on Earth."
According to the latest annual survey conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal government funded less than half of all basic research in the country for the first time since World War II. As for whether this is a good thing, it depends on who you ask.
This week heralds an exciting and challenging endeavor for astronomy. The Event Horizon Telescope will seek to capture a first-ever image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. Radio telescopes from around the world, anchored by the ALMA observatory in Chile, will work in concert to test some of physics' most fundamental theories.
Scientists studying the complex topography of a region of Mars known as Arabia Terra think they have identified the source of a tsunami that may have crashed into its shore billions of years ago, at a time when many think Mars had ocean covering much of its northern hemisphere.
Science and technology (S&T)have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Public and private research and development spur scientific and technological advancement. Such advances can drive economic growth, help address national priorities, and improve health and quality of life. The constantly changing nature and ubiquity of science and technology frequently create public policy issues of congressional interest.
While overall science funding was slashed substantially in the outline of President Trump's budget sent to Congress, the scientists gathered in The Woodlands for the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference received an upbeat message from NASA officials in a briefing Monday evening. "The budget is incredibly good," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters. "NASA fared incredibly well."