Space & Planetary Science: April 2011 Archives

NASA Spacecraft Reveals Dramatic Changes In Mars' Atmosphere

"NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has discovered the total amount of atmosphere on Mars changes dramatically as the tilt of the planet's axis varies. This process can affect the stability of liquid water if it exists on the Martian surface and increase the frequency and severity of Martian dust storms. Researchers using MRO's ground-penetrating radar identified a large, buried deposit of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, at the Red Planet's south pole. The scientists suspect that much of this carbon dioxide enters the planet's atmosphere and swells the atmosphere's mass when Mars' tilt increases."

NASA Chief Suggests JWST Won't Launch before 2018, Space News

"Last November, an independent review ordered by Mikulski and led by John Casani of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, concluded that the JWST was at least $1.5 billion over budget and 15 months behind schedule. The Casani report said NASA would need to add $500 million to JWST's budget in 2011 and 2012 in order to keep the telescope on track for a September 2015 launch. NASA's 2012 budget request, sent to Congress in February, includes $375 million or less for JWST for each of the next five years. NASA said at the time that those were placeholder budget figures likely to be revised once NASA completes its own assessment of the program's cost and schedule. Bolden indicated during the hearing that NASA would not be seeking the amount of money recommended in the Casani report and would accept a lengthier launch delay instead."


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