Just a reminder than the Bahcall Fellowship – the very job I have that involves posting to the policy blog, writing action alerts, attending hearings, monitoring legislation, etc. – is still open for applications. The deadline is June 30 (though the body of the posting says June 1, the actual closing date for applications is June 30).
A variety of PDFs are reports are available covering the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science subcommittee bill. There is the full appropriations committee summary, the statement from Rep. Mollohan on the markup of the bill, a summary table of the appropriations.
Much of the detail, however, is in the committee report. The entire report can be viewed as a PDF from the Government Printing Office, complete with numerous tables. It’s also available on the Library of Congress site as a web page – here is the section on NASA science for example.
FYI does their usual, excellent job in discussing the NSF report language. The NSF mark is below the President’s request, a 6.9% increase over FY ’09 instead of a 8.5% increase.
The biggest notable event is that NASA space exploration receives a significant cut over the request – to quote Chairman Mollohan:
The recommendation, however, acknowledges that the Administration has established a blue ribbon panel, led by Dr. Norm Augustine, to review the current vision for human space flight. Funds are provided in the bill to continue investments in human space flight at the same level as provided in fiscal year 2009. Reductions from the budget request should not be viewed as a diminution of my support or that of the Subcommittee in NASA’s human space flight activities. Rather, the deferral is taken without prejudice; it is a pause, a time-out, to allow the President to establish his vision for human space exploration and to commit to realistic future funding levels to realize this vision.
The deferral amounts to a change of 212.3 million less than the request in Exploration. Also, a new budget line was created for the “Construction of Facilities” and some internal budget shifting occurs out of Cross-Agency support.
None of those budgetary changes effect NASA Science or the comparison of NASA science numbers to the request. Science sees a slight increase over the president’s request – $18.9 million more than requested. The details are from the above-linked Science section of the committee report, which you can see below. Read more »
The Astro2010 panels are underway. Draft schedules in PDF form can be found at the Astro2010 site.
I’m currently sitting in the Optical and Infrared astronomy from the ground panel, where TMT is presenting. It’s tempting to try and live-blog this sort of event, but 1) I’m not sure how the NRC staff would feel about that, and b) I’m not sure how interesting that’d be anyway. I imagine most people reading live-blogs right now are reading about the latest iPhone.
In any event, I’ll write up some blog posts and informational emails about the panels and my impressions, as well as link to any presentations that are made public. For example, if the powerpoint presentations made by each project are made available on the NRC site, I’ll be sure to link to those.
Yesterday, NASA officially announced the members of human space flight review led by Norm Augustine. From the release:
- Norman Augustine (chair), retired chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp., and former member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
- Dr. Wanda Austin, president and CEO, The Aerospace Corp.
- Bohdan Bejmuk, chair, Constellation program Standing Review Board, and former manager of the Boeing Space Shuttle and Sea Launch programs
- Dr. Leroy Chiao, former astronaut, former International Space Station commander and engineering consultant
- Dr. Christopher Chyba, professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Princeton University, and member, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
- Dr. Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT and co-chair, NASA Exploration Technology Development Program Review Committee
- Jeffrey Greason, co-founder and CEO, XCOR Aerospace, and vice-chair, Personal Spaceflight Federation
- Dr. Charles Kennel, chair, National Academies Space Studies Board, and director and professor emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
- Retired Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles, chair, National Academies Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program, former Air Force vice chief of staff and former commander of the Air Force Materiel Command
- Dr. Sally Ride, former astronaut, first American woman in space, CEO of Sally Ride Science and professor emerita at the University of California, San Diego
Last week, NASA Acting Administrator Mike Scolese testified in front of the Senate Appropriations and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees. Archived webcasts of the appropriations and authorization hearing are available.
During the appropriations hearing, there was a first – after their successful servicing mission of Hubble the shuttle astronauts testified from orbit. While there was a bit of an audio problem for a bit in the actual hearing room (we couldn’t hear the astronauts for a short while), the following Youtube clip seems to have uninterrupted audio of the astronauts testimony:
In other NASA news, as you have probably heard by now, President Obama has nominated former astronaut at retired Marine general Charles Bolden to run NASA, as well as Lori Garver as Deputy administrator.
Here is a pdf link to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences FY 2010 budget request. The complete NSF FY 2010 budget table of contents is online. Astronomical Sciences FY 2010 request is $250.8 million, a 9.7% increase over the FY 2009 plan. That increase over FY 2009 does not include the $85.8 million that NSF estimates AST will receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill).
Astronomy is also featured in the facilities chapter of the request and the MREFC chapter. The latter notes that the ATST (Advanced Technology Solar Telescope) initial construction is being funded with $146 million from the stimulus bill.
Additional details below for specific NSF AST activities:
Individual investigator program (+7.50 million, to a total of $57.0 million). This is primarily for activities in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants and the Education and Special Programs, to address priorities expressed in the Interagency plan for the Physics of the Universe program.
CAREER program (+$1.0 million, to a total of $4.10 million). This is to increase the division’s support for beginning faculty.
Instrumentation Activities (+$8.25 million, to a total of $31.53 million). This funds increased activity in partnership with the academic community, taking advantage of opportunities for scientific discovery that requires instrumentation and experimentation at the mid-scale range of $5.0 million to $20 million.
Science and Technology Center for Adaptive Optics Funding ends in FY 2010 as ten year support for this center sunsets as planned.
Astronomy Facilities (+$7.51 million, to a total of $136.19 million). Changes are:
- Gemini Observatory (+$390,000, to a total of $19.10 million). This will enable continued operating and visitor support per the international partnership agreement.
- NAIC (-$1.20 million, to a total of $8.40 million). AST support is reduced following the recommendation of the AST Senior Review. This will result in reduced levels of programming, user support, and observing time.
- Combined NOAO/NSO (+$2.02 million, to a total of $41.60 million). Within this total, funding for NOAO primary operations and maintenance funding increases by $1.92 million to $27.50 million and the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP), administered through NOAO, increases by $1.0 million to $5.0 million in FY 2010. NSO funding decreases by $900,000 to $9.10 million, with the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) being funded from the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account. For more information on ATST, see the MREFC chapter
- NRAO (-$270.000, to a total of $49.52 million) and ALMA operations ($+$6.57 million, to a total of $17.57 million).
I’m a bit late to covering this, but the Planetary decadal is beginning to get underway. Steven Squyres of Cornell University has been named the chair, and Larry Soderblom of the U.S. Geological Survey is the vice-chair.
You can view the full committee membership at the Planetary Science Decadal Survey site and it’s also listed in the current projects system. Also at the web site is a PDF copy of the presentation given in March in Houston at the Lunar and Planetary science conference.
This isn’t science policy, but NPR has a web feature that showcase numerous AAS members picking their favorite Hubble images. You can hear recently elected AAS president Debra Elmegreen and AAS executive officer Kevin Marvel speak about their favorite images, along with 11 others. NPR solicited suggestions and favorite images from astronomers using the AAS Facebook page.