Monday, February 4, 2008

NASA budget proposal for FY 2009 promises lots of new science missions

It will be many months before we know what complex Congressional procedures have left over from the bold plans, but the Fiscal 2009 Budget Proposal for NASA - explained in some detail in the Cosmic Mirror #311 with links to all documents - is most exciting. No fewer than five new starts of space science missions are included, from the Joint Dark Energy Mission over a Solar Probe into the corona and preparatory work for a Mars Sample Return in ca. 2020 after an Outer Planets Flagship mission (to a destination in the Jupiter or Saturn systems) to several small lunar missions. Critics already say, though, that the overall strategy won't fly ...

In other news a nice color image of comet Chen-Gao has been taken which might be close to Holmes on March 28. A fine picture of 46P/Wirtanen's tail has been published (but you may have to subscribe to the Comet-Images Yahoo group to access it). And the fate of the asteroid near Mars is unknown - though it certainly did not impact.

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