Becoming an “aquanaut,” Prof. Steven Squyres, astronomy, plunged into the waters off Key Largo, Fla., on Oct. 20 to help NASA prepare for the first-ever asteroid exploration mission, scheduled to take flight in 2025.
Since 2009, NASA has funded and built two climate satellites that promised to obtain data on the ever-changing Earth climate. However, both spacecrafts now reside somewhere off the coast of California on the ocean floor due to similar flight mishaps.
The space shuttle, Discovery, is scheduled as the second to last mission for the program. Its last mission, originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 1, was postponed several times this month. The earliest date the shuttle can now launch is Dec. 17.
Congress passed a bill last semester, effectively ending the Space Shuttle program, potentially freeing up budgetary space for larger missions, such as a trip to Mars. In the meantime, NASA will rely on private, commercial space flights and international partnership for access to the space station.