Have you been watching the nation’s economy continue to unravel and wondering where all of that stimulus money went? Another $400 million of the $787 billion approved last February in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have been accounted for, this time at the federal Energy Department. Why did the Energy Department receive these funds? To support technological research that, in many cases, is so speculative that it apparently cannot attract private venture capital.
Americans have become much more skeptical of global warming prognoses over the past year, according to a study by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released October 23. The percentage of Americans who believe there's solid evidence that the Earth is warming has plummeted from 77 percent to 57 percent since April 2008, the study revealed. And those who believe that global warming is a very serious problem fell during the same period from 44 percent to 35 percent.
Six weeks after the release of the committee’s preliminary report, the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee has released its final report. The 155 page report, which is entitled “Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation,” is the end result of a process which began last May, when the Obama administration announced that the committee, chaired by Norman Augustine (former CEO of Lockheed Martin), would study the state of America’s manned space program and render advice to the administration concerning the future of that program.
Launched in 1997, the Cassini probe to Saturn completed its initial four-year mission in June 2008. The trip from Earth to Saturn took roughly seven years and entailed 2.2 billion miles. Although Cassini's nuclear power supply caused a brief controversy among environmentalists who fretted that the probe would come crashing down, spilling its 72 pounds of plutonium in Earth’s environment, Cassini has quietly gone about its work, rarely drawing much attention from the public except at the more “telegenic” moments of the mission.
With the release of the full report by the Augustine Committee only days away, NASA is making preparations to test a rocket vital to a space program that the Obama administration may be preparing to terminate.