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Inside Space (Mar 8th, 2018)

Some members of the House Space Subcommittee are concerned that proposed budget cuts to NASA could compromise future work. In a hearing on March 7 on Capitol Hill, lawmakers discussed their biggest concern: President Trump's proposal to end the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) project, which is considered a flagship astrophysics mission. Rep. Ami Bera, D-California, said cuts without scientific-based prioritization "can set a dangerous precedent. We don't want to get into a situation where every four years priorities are changing." Lawmakers said a mission to Mars should not come at the expense of other science technology missions. NASA's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot disagreed, saying, "We've aligned that technology budget with the exploration initiatives … so I think we still have a very balanced portfolio going forward." — SPACE

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Multiple cyclones with Category 5 hurricane-force winds, each measuring thousands of miles across, have been observed over Jupiter. Nine are spinning over the planet's north pole, while six are located over the south pole. NASA said the cyclones are "unlike anything else encountered in our solar system." The discovery was made by NASA unmanned spacecraft Juno, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. Juno was sent to understand the planet's origins. Its mission is expected to end in July, but it could be extended. — USAT

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Commercial space companies apparently are interested in the Vandenberg Air Force Base for future operations. Speaking at a joint chambers of commerce meeting held on the base near the city of Lompoc, California, Col. Gregory Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, wouldn't name companies interested or projects planned, but said "in addition to our test business, which is steady, this commercial segment is dynamically changing, and I think we’re going to change for the better as a result of it.” The airbase is experiencing one of its busiest times for blastoffs in more than a decade. NASA is set to launch on May 5 its Mars-bound InSight on board United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket. — NOOZHAWK

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A video with more than 1.5 million views claims to show a UFO crash site on the remote island of South Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean. Except, the object in question is a rock that fell from a mountain leaving a path in the snow. In the video, the narrator alleges that the object “doesn’t look like your typical trail made by a snowball or a ... piece of ice tumbling and rolling across the hillside.” A geologist set the record straight in a blog post. — GIZMODO

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SpaceX's plans to potentially launch some 12,000 satellites has renewed concerns about space junk among some in the space industry. The SpaceX proposal — dubbed Starlink — would aim to add fast internet access. While it is not known how many satellites the company ultimately would launch, SpaceX's FCC filings show applications for nearly 12,000 — 7,500 of which would orbit about 200 miles up and 4,000 that will orbit over 700 miles above Earth. "There are no binding laws or agreements that require the management of space debris. Ultimately if [Elon Musk is] going to be in space, he wants other people to keep space clear, so he should too," said Lisa Ruth Rand, a science and technology researcher. — MASHABLE

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You might as well be walkin' on the sun...

Walking on the sun isn't likely, but your name could could visit it soon thanks to NASA's Parker Solar Probe.

NASA is inviting the public to "come aboard" its first mission to touch the sun. People around the world can submit their name to be added to a chip that will reach the sun.

If that's not enough motivation, your name will be joined by William Shatner.

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