“President Biden’s budget will help us explore new cosmic shores, continue to make strides in traveling to and working in space and on the Moon, increase the speed and safety of air travel with cutting-edge technologies, and help protect our planet and improve lives here on Earth.”
“I join the nation in congratulating Sultan al-Neyadi as he begins his pioneering mission aboard the International Space Station. His inspiring achievement is a source of great pride to the UAE and another milestone in the journey of our nation and the ambitions of our people.“
–Statement by United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan after the launch of the Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which included UAE astronaut Sultan al-Neyadi. All four members of the Crew-6 mission arrived safely at the ISS earlier today.
“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were. But nothing — nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from other — any other country. The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”
-Statement by President Biden at a February 16, 2023 press conference regarding the shooting down of three balloons after the destruction of a Chinese spy balloon. The Guardian later reported that an Illinois amateur ballooning club was contacted by the FBI about its $13 weather balloon that was last seen in Canada’s Yukon territory.
“What new discoveries from the James Webb space telescope (JWST) can I tell my nine-year old about?”
-The one question put to Google’s Bard AI program, which was designed to rival Microsoft’s ChatGPT. In response, Bard stated the JWST took the very first pictures of an exoplanet, which was incorrect. The first image of an exoplanet can be seen above, taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope back in 2004. The exoplanet, called 2M1207 b, is a gas giant about five times the mass of Jupiter. Following the erroneous feedback, the stock of Google’s parent Alphabet dropped about $100 billion in value. Below is an image from another exoplanet spotted by the JWST last year, called HIP 65426 b, which is about six to eight times the mass of Jupiter.
“NASA should educate the public about why nuclear propulsion is not only something nice to have, but is a necessity if human civilization is to spread beyond the Earth on a greater scale than a few explorers. Access to the mineral and energy resources of the solar system would be a boon to all humankind and would be worth the infinitesimal risk of launching nuclear fuel into space.”
-Statement by Mark R. Whittington in an editorial in The Hill titled “Will the NASA-DARPA nuclear engine test cause environmental protests?” In his piece, Mr. Whittington discusses plans to build a nuclear-powered rocket for a Mars mission and highlights how protests surrounded the 1997 launch of the nuclear-powered Cassini probe to Saturn, with one scientist estimating that “an explosion on the launch pad could spread radioactive plutonium across Central Florida, potentially cause more than 1 million casualties…” Mr. Whittington is the author of various space exploration studies, such as Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?.