Today’s Deep Space Extra

March 17th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, formally released on Thursday, supports NASA’s long term human Mars exploration goals. But cuts in some areas of NASA, including Earth science, education and a planetary science mission to reach Jupiter’s moon Europa with a lander, are stirring debate.


Human Deep Space Exploration

Trump’s NASA budget supports deep space exploration

CBS News (3/16): The prime focus of the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget for NASA is human and robotic deep space exploration as well as continuing opportunities for public private/partnerships. The $19.1 billion top line is a near 1 percent increase in overall spending.

Bill Nye to President Trump: Keep supporting NASA

USA Today (3/16): Bill Nye, the Science Guy and CEO of the Planetary Society, is urging President Trump to maintain White House budgetary support for NASA and its mission of reaching Mars with human explorers. Orbit Mars first, work closely with commercial space companies and raise NASA’s budget by 5 percent annually, says Nye.


Space Science

Trump budget proposal axes NASA’s Europa Lander project (3/16): President Trump’s 2018 proposed budget for NASA halts efforts to develop a lander mission to Europa, the ice and ocean covered moon of Jupiter. Made famous in the science fiction writings of Arthur C. Clarke, Europa may harbor environments suitable for biological activity. The White House budget proposal supports Europa Clipper, an orbital robotic mission that would explore the moon further. However, the spending plan stops work on a follow-on lander mission in order to back a small overall increase in agency spending, while preserving flexibility in NASA planetary science activities.

SHERLOC could solve the mystery of life on Mars

Spaceflight Insider (3/17): NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, whose continued development is funded in President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, includes the Scanning Habitat Environments with Raman and Luminescence instrument, or SHERLOC, a device designed to look for evidence of past life on Mars. The rover is considered a precursor mission for future human exploration of the red planet.


Low Earth Orbit

H-2A rocket launches with Japanese radar reconnaissance craft (3/16): A high resolution radar reconnaissance satellite rode a Japanese H2A rocket into orbit on Thursday. Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center occurred on Thursday at 9:20 p.m. EDT.


Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

OneWeb breaks ground on a Florida factory that will build thousands of satellites

Space News (3/16): With a ground breaking, OneWeb Satellites expects to open the doors to a new satellite manufacturing facility at Exploration Plaza, Florida, in about a year.


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