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Blog Archive

 

The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/15 08:19 CDT | 7 comments

The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.

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Your Europa Mission Primer of the Day

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/08 09:35 CDT | 1 comments

Trying to understand NASA's current efforts to explore Europa? Read this excellent piece on the recent, frustrating history to scout out this watery moon of Jupiter.

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How Does NASA's Ban on Russian Contact Affect Curiosity?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/04 12:11 CDT | 4 comments

Earlier this week, NASA announced that it was cutting off ties with Russia, except for activities relating to the ISS. This raised questions about Russian participation on NASA's science missions, particularly the Russian experiment on the Curiosity rover.

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A Report from the First Hearing on the 2015 NASA Budget
The House Space Subcommittee Gets First Crack at the President's Budget

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/27 12:07 CDT | 4 comments

An animated NASA Administrator defended the commercial crew program as the fastest way to return to American access to low-Earth orbit in a hearing before the House Space Subcommittee today.

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The NASA Budget: What Next
We're just getting started

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/26 05:27 CDT | 5 comments

Now that the White House has released its 2015 NASA budget proposal, what happens next? What can you do to help?

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The 2015 Planetary Science Budget Situation - A Short Presentation

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/19 12:09 CDT | 2 comments

I gave a talk at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference this year where I summarized the planetary budget situation. Here is that talk.

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[Updated] To Europa!...Slowly. First Impressions of NASA's New Budget Request
My first impressions of the 2015 NASA Budget Request from the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/07 11:20 CST | 5 comments

Europa may get a mission...eventually. We give our first take on the 2015 NASA Budget request. How does Planetary Exploration fare? Which projects were cancelled? Will NASA capture an asteroid? And most importantly, what can you do about it?

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What is NASA for?

Posted by Craig Hardgrove on 2014/02/12 04:19 CST | 3 comments

Planetary scientist Craig Hardgrove takes a look at what NASA really does for humanity.

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Slate's Misleading Hit Piece on the Future of NASA
Instead of a thoughtful essay, they published an uninformed screed

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/06 04:44 CST | 17 comments

A response to Slate's recent piece on the future of NASA, correcting many of its myths and misconceptions about how NASA works.

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Mars 2020 Is No Redo
The next major mission to Mars will push the envelope in technology

Posted by G. Scott Hubbard on 2014/01/28 01:02 CST | 9 comments

The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.

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Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration
For the second year in a row Congress rejects cuts requested by the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/16 07:33 CST | 5 comments

Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

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NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes
Budget cuts slow down the rate of new missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/12/27 04:49 CST | 2 comments

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

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A Protected Class of Programs at NASA?
What real political support looks like

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/10 04:20 CST | 7 comments

The House Science Committee is considering giving a select few NASA programs special protected status against cancellation.

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The Sorry State of Planetary Science Funding In One Chart

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/09 02:18 CST | 12 comments

If you want to know why Cassini might be terminated early, or why NASA pulled out of its joint Mars mission with Europe, or why the new ASRG power source was put on indefinite hold, this chart has your answer.

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Why We're Writing the President (& Congress) Now

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/06 01:37 CST | 6 comments

Decisions about both the 2014 and 2015 budgets are happening soon.

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What's Going on With Planetary Science Research?
Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/04 01:44 CST | 5 comments

Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists.

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Power From the Isotopes
The United States is trying to generate plutonium fuel for the first time in 25 years. Will it succeed?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/29 01:21 CDT | 2 comments

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

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NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown
Launch preparations will resume

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/03 04:40 CDT | 7 comments

Launch preparations will resume for NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch to Mars on November 18th. Work had previously been suspended, potentially causing the spacecraft to miss its once-every-26-month launch opportunity.

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The Energy Department is Full of Hugely Wasteful Spending, But Can't Afford to Make Plutonium for NASA
Congressional Energy Committees Should Focus More On Waste, Less on Making NASA Pay

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/13 11:49 CDT | 2 comments

A recent report shows that major programs within the Department of Energy are billions of dollars over budget due to lax oversight, yet the congressional committees responsible for the Department

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NASA Backs Off From Additional Planetary Cuts in 2013
Operating plan provides $1.271 billion

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/01 03:44 CDT | 5 comments

The final operating plan for the space agency provided $75 million more to planetary exploration than initially proposed.

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