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nasa

2012 budget requests a mixed bag for science

The Obama administration emphasized scientific innovation and education in its fiscal year 2012 budget requests. On Monday, the president’s science advisor, John Holdren, summarized the requests across the different agencies as part of a “tough-love” strategy outlined in the president’s State of the Union speech in January to “win the future.”

17 Feb 2011

Opening up space travel to everyone

Jason Marsh is done waiting around for someone else to transport him into space.

Marsh, a system administrator near Washington, D.C., is preparing to launch a new website for his Open Space Movement (OSM — currently here), a nonprofit project that aims to be a platform for developing and funding aerospace technology — and will be open to anyone who wants to join in. 

31 Aug 2010

Map reveals height of the world's forests

Satellite maps can show everything from city blocks to inaccessible mountain peaks from the comfort of our living rooms. Now, they can show us yet another dimension of the natural world: the heights of the world’s forests.

Michael Lefsky, an expert in remote sensing from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, used NASA satellites to compile a map that displays the height of all the world’s forest canopies. “The goal [of the research] was two-fold: to create a map that would allow us to map above-ground biomass, and simply to show that it can be done,” Lefsky says.

27 Jul 2010

Bids in space: When should we outsource government science?

Government research and development has its limits: Time, money and bureaucracy can all hamper the timely progress of research. As a result, many federal agencies are looking to private companies to help drive new innovation and keep costs down — but it’s never that simple. Two current hot-button topics — returning humans to space and geoengineering — highlight a range of issues related to how private and public investment in science can coexist. This month, we focus on NASA.

30 Jun 2010

Hubble's pics of Pluto: Dark orange and charcoal-black

Blogging on EARTH

Today NASA released new Hubble images of dwarf planet Pluto — and far from being just an icy colorless rock, the images show a mottled, dynamic, orangey-black world that changes color with the seasons (on Pluto, the change of seasons lasts 248 Earth years — and although on Earth the seasons change due to the axial tilt of the planet, Pluto's eccentric, non-circular orbit plays a big role in its seasonal variations).

04 Feb 2010

Crystal Ball EARTH: Policy: A tale of two years

In U.S. policy, the past year was dominated by discussions of energy and climate change issues, at least in the earth sciences realm. In the first year of his administration, President Barack Obama focused on his top campaign priorities — but between discussions of healthcare reform, trying to rejuvenate the economy and setting up his cabinet, he still found time to discuss the sciences.

11 Dec 2009

Crystal Ball EARTH: Space: NASA keeps watch on a changing planet

In 2009, we saw a number of changes on Earth. The average global ocean surface temperature last summer was the warmest on record. Thin seasonal ice has recently replaced thick older ice as the dominant type of ice in the Arctic. And scientists saw that despite a quiet sun with few sunspots, Earth can continue to be bombarded with a high level of solar energy.

11 Dec 2009

NASA's LCROSS crashes on the moon

Blogging on EARTH

Usually, NASA hopes its space probes land safely at their destinations. This morning, the agency was planning for a big explosion on the moon — all in the hopes of confirming the presence of water on our nearest neighbor.

09 Oct 2009

Moon much wetter than thought

The moon isn’t quite the bone-dry place scientists once thought; instead, its surface is covered in water, according to a landmark finding announced by scientists at NASA today.

24 Sep 2009

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