Another year, another round of spending cuts; and, perhaps, another case of Congress riding to the rescue? The White House's budget request for the 2020 fiscal year, released today, once again seeks to scale back research programs across government, though most of the details will wait until next week. That's because the White House is issuing its annual proposal to Congress in phases, with only a 150-page budget overview released today.
Rocket science is easy. It's finding the funding for it that's hard. The Presidential Budget Request for NASA for the fiscal year 2020 is $21.019 billion -- higher than the FY2018 budget, and much higher than the lean years earlier this decade. At the same time, it also represents a 2.2% drop, nearly half a billion dollars, from the just-approved 2019 budget.
It may not look like much, but this orangey brown puff of smoke high is the aftermath of the third largest meteor explosion to have impacted Earth in modern times. The huge meteor explosion hit Earth in December but was only spotted by researchers last week, and now we have visual evidence thanks to the camera of the geostationary Japanese Himawari-8 weather satellite.
A meteor caused a massive explosion over Earth last year, but nobody noticed until now. It is the second-largest recorded impact in the past century, after the meteor that exploded over the Russian region of Chelyabinsk in 2013. The giant fireball hit at 2350 GMT on 18 December over the Bering Sea, a part of the Pacific Ocean between Russia and Alaska.
At the top of the list is the United States, followed by Israel and South Korea. Aside from Japan, the rest of the top 10 countries in scientific innovations are all members of the European Union: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Austria. The U.S. led the pack when it came to the number of research papers published and the number of patents granted, followed by China and Japan respectively. But Israel topped the amount spent on research...
In January, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and since the end of the partial federal government shutdown, the director and office have produced informative reports and speeches. Two common threads through these sources are emphases on continued American leadership in key tech sectors -- and that this leadership will increasingly occur in conjunction with, or under the direction of, private industry.
Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria performed the world’s first middle-ear surgery using 3D technology! They effectively replaced the hammer, anvil, stirrup and the ossicles that make up the middle ear. The surgery, which can be performed on everyone including newborns, has benefitted two patients already. The 3D-printing technology is used to print these bones, and is also used in surgery to reconstruct the ossicles.
Tiny electronic chips have been cooled to a record low temperature, dipping below a thousandth of a kelvin for the first time ever, scientists reported March 6 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. To reach the frosty temperature, the scientists incorporated tiny bits of metal on the chip, which act like magnetic refrigerators.
The SpaceX commercial astronaut capsule has splashed down successfully in the Atlantic Ocean, marking a significant step in Nasa’s quest to resume manned space flight from the US. Footage of the landing shows the capsule hitting the water gently under four billowing red and white parachutes. A boat, the GO Searcher, was waiting to recover the capsule, which splashed down about 280 miles (450 km) from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Two new academic papers, one published in The Astronomical Journal and the other in Physics Reports, present new evidence that a large, as yet undiscovered planet is lurking in the outer solar system. Both papers coincide with the three-year anniversary of an announcement by astronomers Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin, both of Caltech, of their theory that a large, distant planet is responsible for the unique clustering of several Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) far beyond Neptune and Pluto. Specifically, these KBOs are in orbits perpendicular to the plane of the solar system.