Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has conceded the Senate race to Republican rival Rick Scott after a recount. Scott, who is leaving his job as Florida governor, won by 10,033 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast.
Nelson, who has been a strong supporter of NASA, has held the Senate seat for 18 years. He previously served in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991.
During his time in the House, he flew into space as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986.
Scott has also been a strong supporter of the space program during his time as governor. Space Florida, which serves as the state’s space agency, has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure improvements and other incentives at Cape Canaveral to lure commercial companies to operate there.
Nelson was one of three prominent space advocates to lose re-election bids. Rep. John Culberson. Republican lost his bid to continue representing Texas’ 7th district. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) will also be departing after 30 years in the House.
Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because beneath its icy crust lies a salty, liquid water ocean. NASA’s Europa Clipper, targeted to launch in 2022, will be equipped with the instruments necessary to determine whether Europa possesses the ingredients necessary to support life as we know it.
Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD), and JoAnna Wendel, PSD communications lead, will host the chat. Guests include:
Xianzhe Jia, associate professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Elizabeth Turtle, research scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland
Margaret Kivelson, professor emerita of Space Physics in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles
The public can send questions on social media by using #askNASA at any time during the event.
The Science Chat will occur as the scientific journal Nature Astronomy publishes a paper about how NASA’s Galileo spacecraft flew through a plumb of water from Europa a thousand kilometers (620 miles) thick. News of the paper had been embargoed by the journal, but Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) revealed the finding during a subcommittee hearing last week.
Imagine the following scenario: NASA’s Earth Science division gets its budget cut with key missions focused on climate change canceled.
The new NASA administrator then announces the division will be dismantled, with various programs divided among other federal departments, in order to better focus the space agency on exploration. The bulk of the programs end up at NOAA, which the NASA administrator says is a much more appropriate home for them.
NOAA, however, is already reeling from spending cuts. Struggling to perform its own forecasting duties on a reduced budget, the agency has little bandwidth to take on any additional responsibilities. And the funding allocated for the NASA programs that were just transferred over is woefully inadequate for the tasks at hand.
The result is a bureaucratic train wreck in which America’s Earth science and climate research programs gradually wither away due to mismanagement, neglect and lack of funding. The ability of the nation — and the world — to understand and address the changes the planet experiencing is greatly reduced. At some future date, another administration will have to rebuild a program in shambles that was once the envy of the world.
Sound far fetched? Think again. It could very well happen if the Trump Administration and the man it has nominated to lead NASA get what they want out of Congress.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) have filed bills calling for NASA to develop a clear strategy for placing astronauts on Mars.
The Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy (MANIFEST) for Human Spaceflight Act of 2017 calls for the space agency to accomplish this goal “through a series of successive, sustainable, free-standing, but complementary missions making robust utilization of cis-lunar space and employing the Space Launch System, Orion crew capsule, and other capabilities.”
The cis-lunar elements include the expansion of human presence into lunar orbit, lunar surface, asteroids, the moons of Mars, and the martian surface. The plan must include opportunities for collaboration with international partners, private companies and other federal agencies.
The strategy would identify how the International Space Station could support the program, and include “a range of exploration mission architectures and approaches for the missions…including capabilities for the Orion crew capsule and the Space Launch System.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing to receive testimony on H.R. 2093, the Space Leadership Preservation Act, and to consider the issue of maintaining a “constancy of purpose” for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Committee also held a hearing on the Space Leadership Preservation Act last Congress. (more…)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing on The Space Leadership Preservation Act and the need for stability at NASA. The hearing featured input from former astronaut and first female Space Shuttle pilot and commander, Eileen Collins, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, and Rep. John Culberson, author of the Space Leadership Preservation Act.
The hard working but chronically underachieving members of Congress have been back at it. And that means all sorts of legislation ranging from good to bad to what the frak? Some of it relates to space.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is preparing to introduce the Space Exploration, Development and Settlement Act that would enshrine permanent human settlement as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Act, the legislation that created NASA and includes its goals and objectives.
The measure is being spearheaded by the Alliance for Space Development (ASD), a coalition of 11 space organizations that launched earlier this year. ASD has been trying to line up Congressional support for the legislation.
Washington, D.C. (John Culberson PR) – Congressman John Culberson (TX-07) today introduced the Space Leadership Preservation Act, legislation that will change business as usual at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and create a more stable and accountable space program.
“Too many NASA programs have been cancelled due to cost-overruns, mismanagement or abrupt program changes at the start of each new Administration,” stated Congressman Culberson. “In the last 20 years, NASA has spent more than $20 billion on cancelled programs and our astronauts now rely on the Russians to get to the International Space Station.”
WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release) – Today, Reps. John Culberson (TX-07), Frank Wolf (VA-10), Bill Posey (FL-15), Pete Olson (TX-22), James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) and Lamar Smith (TX-21), introduced the Space Leadership Preservation Act, legislation that will change business as usual at NASA and result in a more stable and accountable space program. The bill would create a 10-year term for the NASA Administrator to provide crucial stability of the leadership structure at NASA so that decisions are made based on science and are removed from the politics of changing administrations.