Even though overall trust in the government is near historic lows, the public expressed favorable views toward the individual agencies in a Jan. 22 Pew Research Center poll. Wide majorities of people express favorable views of such government agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASA and the Defense Department.
President Obama once again flexed his executive muscles in his penultimate State of the Union speech Tuesday night, though not through promises of executive orders like he did last year. This year Obama promised to veto any bills that would undo the his healthcare and immigration policies.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continues to face cost overruns and delays in key program milestones as it readies the launch of the first of four next-generation weather satellites next year.
Temperatures collected around the globe show that every ocean had parts that were record warmest as well as many portions of Europe. Still, there were a few land areas where temperatures were actually cooler than average, most notably in North America and particularly across the United States.
Despite NASA reporting the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, will launch as planned in October 2018, the Government Accountability Office says one of the agency's most complex and expensive projects in NASA history faces increased schedule and cost risks.
Still basking in the success of last week's Orion space launch, NASA officials were brought back to Earth with Government Accountability Office testimony that says NASA still faces incredible technical and financial challenges in its mission to put a person on Mars. In Dec. 10 testimony, GAO space expert Cristina Chaplain says the mission to put a person on Mars has been hampered by unrealistic and inconsistent goals as well as significant funding issues.
The White House, Interior Department and several other agencies this week released large government datasets on water and ecosystems as well as new geospatial tools to help communities prepare and cope with impacts from climate change.
Federal worker job satisfaction dropped for the fourth year in a row in the Partnership for Public Service annual Best Places to Work report based on the Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results. Federal employee job satisfaction and commitment fell 0.9 points to a score of 56.9 percent. That represents the lowest score since PPS started the report in 2003.
Climate change poses a threat to NASA because many of its launch facilities sit on coastlines, an Oct. 31 NASA report says. Rising sea levels and heavier rain due to climate change could affect the window NASA has to launch at its coastline facilities like Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Climate change could also put infrastructure at those sites in danger due to flooding, the report (pdf) says.
Only 59 percent of federal employees surveyed by the Office of Personnel Management said they were satisfied with their jobs, says OPM's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The global satisfaction index captured four aspects of employee contentment: their job, their pay, their organization and if they would recommend their organization as a good place to work.