NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes
Budget cuts slow down the rate of new missions
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.
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.
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
Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists.
Power From the Isotopes
The United States is trying to generate plutonium fuel for the first time in 25 years. Will it succeed?
We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.
NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown
Launch preparations will resume
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.
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
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
NASA Backs Off From Additional Planetary Cuts in 2013
Operating plan provides $1.271 billion
The final operating plan for the space agency provided $75 million more to planetary exploration than initially proposed.
The government employee responsible for the proposed restructuring of all STEM programs in 2014 has been identified by the journal Science. The initiative faces resistance from both Congress and the scientific community, who feel that they were not consulted during the decision making process.
We Need Space-Based Detection of Threats, but NASA Shouldn't Pay for It
Reports from the AGU's Science Policy Conference
Early detection is a crucial step in preventing or mitigating threats from space, but it's not NASA's job.
If we started today, how long would it take to get to Mars? With this budget, never.
Analysis of the House Science Committee Hearing on the 2013 NASA Authorization Bill
The House of Representatives held a hearing today to discuss their proposed NASA authorization bill, which would fund Planetary Science, cut Earth Science, forbid asteroid retrieval, and command NASA to pursue a path to Mars via the Moon.
Despite congressional rejection of massive cuts to Planetary Science this year, NASA has found a way to implement the cuts internally and use the money for other purposes.
When we visit Congress, this is what we leave them with. This one page summarizes the entire threat to continued planetary exploration at NASA in the proposed 2014 budget.
On April 9, the current Australian government announced the first formal Australian space policy. Astronomy graduate student Michele Bannister explains what this means for the country.
What's Going On with NASA Education and Public Outreach?
Sequestration claims its next victim at NASA.
Sequestration claims its next victim at NASA, as all Education and Public Outreach activities are suspended until further review.
[Updated] Senate Bill Restores $223 million to NASA's Planetary Science Division
A step in the positive direction, but far from certain
The President signed the Senate's bill to fund the government for the remainder of 2013, and it includes some positive news for NASA's Planetary Science division, which is facing a 21% cut.
Reporting from NASA's Mars Exploration Program working group on the latest updates in scientific exploration of the red planet.