The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, funding the U.S. government for the remainder of the fiscal year. NASA got a boost to $19.65 billion, and its Planetary Science Division saw a budget increase to $1.846 billion—its best budget in more than ten years.
Tonight, a four-person crew will seal themselves inside a three-story habitat at NASA's Johnson Space Center, kicking off a simulated 45-day mission to an asteroid. One crewmember shares his thoughts before entering.
The Planetary Society's LightSail project has roots in a late-1970s NASA plan to send a giant solar sail spacecraft to Halley's Comet. Now, a cache of archival documents adds new depth to the audacious plan.
Last week, the planetary science community lost Nathan Bridges, a leading scientist whose work studied how wind sculpts the surface of Mars. Nathan was a prolific scientist involved in many Mars exploration missions, a charter member of The Planetary Society, a friend, husband, and father.
Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.