We often hear about the dust storms and wind on Mars, but it’s hard to visualize conditions on the ground when the planet’s only inhabitants are robots. Today, the Curiosity rover has provided a handy visual example of how the wind blows on the red planet. The record consists of two images of a penny, one before the windy season and one after.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is partnering with other federal agencies in support of NSF INCLUDES National Network, a program dedicated to making a lasting impact on diversifying the STEM workforce of the future. Partners include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
NASA announced Thursday that it has partnered with nine companies to enable the delivery of small scientific payloads to the lunar surface. No money was exchanged up front, but the space agency said these companies would now be eligible to "bid" for contracts to deliver select experiments to the Moon.
NASA’s InSight mission has successfully landed on the red planet, making it the first Mars landing for the agency in six years. With the solar panels deployed, it’s time for the probe to start doing some science. Well, it’s going to do some science. InSight has to do several months of prep work before most of its instruments will be ready to relay data back to Earth.
NASA’s spacecraft that landed on Mars Monday has beamed back its first clear photo of the desolate Red Planet. “There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home,” NASA tweeted late Monday, hours after its new InSight lander touched down.
After a 300 million-mile, six-month interplanetary cruise, NASA’s Mars InSight robotic lander is heading for a plain-vanilla arrival at the Red Planet on Monday — and the team behind the mission couldn’t be more pleased.
NASA’s planetary science program has enjoyed significant support over the last several years. After post-sequestration cuts trimmed the program’s budget to less than $1.3 billion in 2013, it’s grown significantly in subsequent years, exceeding $2.2 billion in 2018. The House version of a fiscal year 2019 spending bill, approved by appropriators in May but yet to be considered by the full House, proposed nearly $2.76 billion for the program.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket does not have a spotless record. In the last few years, SpaceX has lost one vehicle on the launchpad and another broke apart en route to the International Space Station (ISS). Yet, SpaceX is on a roll as it nears three dozen successful Falcon 9 launches in a row. The company is also cruising toward certification to ferry astronauts to the ISS.
The Democratic party will assume majority control of the House of Representatives next January. As a result, the management of all committees in the House will belong to Democrats, who can pursue issues and topics of their choosing. Republicans, consigned to the minority for the first time in 8 years, will have little influence over committee leadership.
David Strauss, an analyst and oddsmaker at MyBookie, says NASA is the underdog and Musk is the favorite. “Bezos may have the discipline, but Musk has the infrastructure and just the right amount of craziness to make a successful mission happen,” he said today in a news release. “The days of government organizations staging trips to another planet are behind us. I would be surprised if NASA truly makes it back to the moon.”