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NASA: Calm down, Earth scientists


In the fact of changes at NASA. Release your inner adult. From Debra Werner at SpaceNews:

“You are leaders in your community, please be a source of signal, not a source of noise,” Zurbuchen said Dec. 12 during the annual Earth Science Town Hall meeting at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

The names of two key new figures, NASA administrator and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are not yet announced.

Funding for NASA’s Earth science program has traditionally waxed and waned with changing administrations. Funding as a percent of NASA’s overall budget declined sharply from 2001 to 2006, the early years of the George W. Bush presidency, dipping from about 11 percent of NASA’s budget to six percent. It was not until NASA’s first Earth science decadal survey published in January 2007 declared that the space agency’s Earth-observing satellite system “was in danger of collapsing” that funding began to rise, Freilich said.

Since 2007, NASA’s Earth science budget has climbed back up to comprise about 10 percent of the agency’s budget, nearly $1.93 billion in 2016. With the money appropriated since 2007, NASA has “truly revitalized our space-based Earth-observation system,” Freilich said.More.

An artist's drawing of one of NASA's Mars rover on the surface of Mars They’d be wanting to hang on to that. Mars beckons, after all.

See also: New brooms at NASA? “She said one of the achievements she was most proud of as chief scientist was getting the agency to voluntarily request demographic information in grant proposals submitted by scientists.” What “demographic information” did NASA have in mind?

NASA to get bigger space exploration budget? Goal of sending humans to the edge of the solar system by the end of the century


Was evidence for liquid water on Mars really discovered last year? Doubts surface. On the bright side, we are now looking at specific locations and the hypotheses generated are much less “shot in the dark” than they used to be.

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