Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 17th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Congress begins to address NASA’s proposed 2020 budget and its supplement and efforts to accelerate a human return to the lunar surface. China’s lunar south pole rover confirms the Moon has a crust and mantle.

Human Space Exploration

Administration asks for authority to shift money within NASA to pay for Moon program (5/17): Under the $1.6 billion 2020 budget supplement presented to Congress by the Trump administration early this week, NASA’s administrator could move funds between accounts to accelerate a human return to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024. The authority, which would apply to appropriations in prior and future years as well, is meeting with resistance from some lawmakers. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House, Science, Space and Technology Committee, called the proposed provision unsustainable.

House appropriators take a pass on NASA budget amendment (5/16): The U.S. House Appropriations Committee released a 2020 spending bill Thursday that adds more than $1 billion to the Trump administration’s original $21 billion request for NASA. But it falls short of addressing the exploration needs presented to lawmakers Monday by the White House in a $1.6 billion supplement intended to help accelerate a human return to the lunar surface from 2028 to 2024. The House measure seeks increases, however, for NASA science and technology initiatives.

All about winning

Houston Chronicle (5/16): Apollo, NASA’s first sprint to the Moon with astronauts, was all about besting the nation’s Cold War rival, the former Soviet Union. The budgets grew, NASA achieved the goal established by the late President John Kennedy of landing before the 1960’s drew to a close.


Space Science

China’s lunar rover Yutu ends 60-year riddle of Moon’s mantle with discovery of mineral olivine

South China Morning Post (5/16): Yutu, China’s Chang’e 4 lunar rover, has confirmed what scientists have long suspected: the Moon has a mantle under its crust, and it’s comprised of the mineral olivine. China’s lander and rover touched down on the Moon’s far side, a first, on January 3.

New Horizons’ far-out findings from solar system’s Kuiper Belt turn into a cover story (5/16): NASA’s long running New Horizon’s mission is revealing new details about how the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. Launched in 2006, the spacecraft carried out the first ever flyby of Pluto, then the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, shedding new light on the solar system’s planetary building blocks.


Other News

The comeback coast

Washington Post (5/16): Florida’s Space Coast, home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), hosted a sturdy job market until a recession and policymakers retired NASA’s shuttle program eight years ago. Now, thanks to a promising commercial space market and new startup companies, the future looks brighter. The question is whether the region can thrive on a single industry.

Cruz warns ‘Space Force’ needed to prevent space pirates

The Hill (5/15): U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, chair of the Senate’s Aviation and Space Subcommittee, endorses the creation of a U.S. Space Force to protect the nation’s wide ranging space assets from potential adversaries.

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