The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, lidar-- a remote, laser-based sensing system used to examine Earth's surface-- will be the first instrument to systematically examine the depths of the planet's forests from space. One goal of the tool is to get a better handle on forests' role in the carbon cycle.
Amid a White House report that outlined the negative economic consequences of delaying action that would stem climate change, NASA has announced a second public challenge to develop innovative applications using climate data.
More than 300 NASA professional support specialists voted Aug. 12 to join the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers union, an IFPTE statement says. Professional support specialists include budget analysts, secretaries, administrative specialists and policy analysts.
NASA selected 23 small business proposals to work on advanced technologies as a way to increase participation by such businesses and commercialize their research, according to an Aug. 8 statement by the space agency.
NASA and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation topped a list of agencies with the best leadership communication. The list comes from the Partnership for Public Service's analysis of the Office of Personnel Management's 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. PPS took into account questions in the survey about satisfied federal workers were with the communication coming from their senior managers.
NASA planned to get a new space launch system off the ground by 2017, but it doesn't have the $12 million to do it, a July 23 Government Accountability Office report says. The space agency is at high risk of missing its planned December 2017 test flight, the report says. Currently NASA is about $400 million short of funding for the project and NASA told the GAO there was a 90 percent chance of not hitting the launch date at this time.
NASA is spending more money than it should to maintain one of its software verification and validation facilities, leaving less funding to evaluate the software, a report by the space agency's inspector general found.
Due to an uptick in cyber attacks on the space agency's networks and web sites in recent years, the U.S. space agency launched a program to improve its cybersecurity and cut down on potential ways for hackers to get into its systems. A recent report by the NASA inspector general lauds the program's efforts, but notes that there's still room for more improvement.
A National Research Council report says NASA's current strategy won't result in a human landing on Mars anytime in the near future. To continue on its current path is to "invite failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the United States does best," the June 4 report says.
A new rule would limit the amount contractors could charge the government for any of their employees' salaries under cost-reimbursement contracts. Currently contractors can charge back $487,000 for employee salaries, but the ceiling only applies to top senior executives. With the new Federal Acquisition Regulation rule, that limit would be expanded to all employees including scientists and engineers.