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.
SpaceX is already on track to make history by becoming the first private company to carry astronauts to the International Space Station in 2018. As if that wasn't ambitious enough, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday that the company is planning to send two private citizens into orbit around the moon a mere six months after carrying its first crew to the ISS.
Have you heard the good news? On Wednesday, scientists announced a fleet of new planets. And not just any old exoplanets: they unveiled a solar system seemingly jam-packed with Earth-sized worlds. Those seven probably-rocky bodies could be an excellent place to search for life. And the good folks at NASA have created a whole new website devoted to the TRAPPIST-1 system. There's a lot to unpack here.
Planet-hunters are always on the lookout for worlds that look like Earth—rocky planets that are not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to flow on the surface. Now scientists have hit the jackpot, discovering seven Earth-size exoplanets orbiting a single star just 39 light-years away.