We knew the sequester would cut NASA deep -- and we feel it more keenly, we who love science and all things space -- but we didn't know where precisely the blade would fall. We figured travel into space, such as through the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), might be curtailed, but who knew it would limit NASA's travel on Earth, too? That's what's going down. Due to the March 1 sequestration, NASA has issued serious restrictions on the travel of its employees and their participation in major conferences. Essentially, the agency is grounded, but still allowed to play in its room.Read More
In what feels like a completely endless debate about how the government should support its science agencies during economic hardship, it seems as though NASA is set to be the sacrificial lamb of budget balancing with almost $2 billion in cuts. Congress has just released its Appropriations bill that gives their views on how much federal money NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) should be given. Massive cuts are called for across the board, but no agency is set to lose as much as NASA.To determine the federal budget, the President comes up with a budget request that the House of Representatives and the Senate then consider and come up with their own independent counter offers. The House and Senate must agree on budget appropriations before the budget becomes final. In his request, President Obama was relatively kind to NASA but the House apparently doesn't see the same value in the agency. The House's budget includes a total cut of $1.64 billion from last year which is almost $2 billion short of the President's request. Read More
If you like math puzzles, here's one for you: The New York Times has put together an interactive puzzle wherein you can attempt to balance the national budget and keep the deficit from ballooning even further.
Today, you’re in charge of the nation’s finances. Some of your options have more short-term savings and some have more long-term savings. When you have closed the budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030, you are done. Make your own plan, then share it online.If you want to play on Expert mode, consider that 1) As a politician, a lot of people and lobbies would be very, very angry if you tried to implement many of these changes (just try implementing a national sales tax) and 2) this is just the budget shortfall over the next five to twenty years; the total national debt is $13.723 trillion dollars. >>>You fix the budget. (NYT via FlowingData) Read More