The Planetary Society is pleased to see many of our recommendations for NASA’s near-term direction reflected in the Senate’s NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 (S.3346). As a new Administration enters office in 2017, this bill could help provide important continuity for NASA’s efforts to send humans to Mars and search for life beyond Earth.
The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-profit space interest organization, announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Britney Schmidt, assistant professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, and actor Robert Picardo.
The Planetary Society is preparing for the LightSail 2 mission, with the objective to demonstrate controlled solar sailing. The Day in the Life tests will occur in a cleanroom laboratory environment and an engineering high bay with the objectives to test the spacecraft’s readiness to perform in space.
The President's Budget Request for NASA in 2020 would start a Mars Sample Return mission and ramp up efforts to send humans to the Moon. But it would still kick off the first year of a new decade with a half-billion dollar cut to the space agency.
CubeSats have made low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups. However, these tiny satellites lack propulsion. LightSail will demonstrate the viability of solar sailing for CubeSats.