Since August of 2012, NASA's Curiosity Rover has tooled around the red planet doing science for us Earthlings. Now, nearly five years and some 10 miles later, the robot is starting to experience the wear and tear of an aging machine: On Tuesday, NASA announced the first two breaks in the rover's wheel treads.
On July 10th, 2015, a chunk of cliff with the same volume as nine Olympic-sized swimming pools tumbled from its perch on Comet 67P. A month later, the comet would reach its perihelion, the closest its elliptical orbit passes to the sun. As the sun's rays reached the Aswan cliff section of Comet 67P's northern hemisphere, the rapid change in temperature warmed the cliff from -220 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 degrees Fahrenheit in the space of about 20 minutes. One percent of the cliff's mass was lost to space, a great jetting plume cast off like water after a dive, and the boulder-like formations settled into a new ridge at the foot of the cliff. We know all of this drama in the heavens thanks to a paper published today in Nature Astronomy.
The White House released its proposed 2018 fiscal year budget on Wednesday night, and the prognosis for Earth Science isn't great. If Congress approves the budget in full, NASA's Earth-observing satellite programs (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR, and CLARREO Pathfinder), which are mostly still in development, are toast. And even if Congress doesn't make all of the suggested budget cuts, the proposal indicates the administration is shrinking away from the research that most serves to benefit our own planet. Here's what we stand to lose:
On Friday, The Washington Post reportedly obtained a memo from within the Trump administration about proposed funding for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The memo outlined steep cuts to several divisions, including the elimination of the $73 million Sea Grant research program, cuts to climate research divisions, and more.
Most galaxies in the universe have at least one thing in common: supermassive black holes tend to sit in their centers, silently gorging on interstellar gas and dust and obliterating anything that comes within range of their event horizon. But scientists know very little about the origin of these behemoths or how they got to be so supermassive.