Trump’s NASA Budget: What It Cuts, What It Keeps

When it comes to space exploration, the White House budget ax does not bite as deeply as it might for other programs. The Trump administration requested $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8% decrease — about $200 million — from 2017. NASA’s cuts may look rosy at first glance, but that doesn’t mean a few key…
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Star Trek Makes Its Mark On Pluto’s Moon Charon

Evocative, isn’t it? That’s Pluto’s largest moon Charon against a star field, illuminated by the faint light reflected from nearby Pluto. The right edge of the moon just catches the sunlight from the side and shows as a bright crescent. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was already about 100,000 miles (150,000 km) beyond Pluto when the…
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Trump Addresses Night Sky, Mysteries Of Space At Inauguration

This blog is anything but political, but my ears perked up when I heard our new president mention the “mysteries of space” and “night sky” during today’s inaugural address. Here are snips of the speech for context: “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space …” “And…
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NASA Lured By Heavy Metal, Plans Missions To Psyche And Beyond

When most people think of a meteorite, they imagine a lump of iron-nickel metal. And while there are plenty of those, stony meteorites peppered with fine metal flakes are far more common. Psyche, a robotic spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October 2023, will target one of these sources of those ‘heavy metal’ meteorites, when it…
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Ahuna Mons, An Alien Volcano With Briny Mud For Magma

This simulated view of Ahuna Mons (Mt. Ahuna) was made using stereo photos NASA’s Dawn spacecraft acquired from its low mapping orbit in August shows one of the asteroid Ceres most remarkable features. Ahuna Mons is likely a cryovolcano or “cold volcano”, formed when salty mud rose up from underground in a growing, dome-like features similar…
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