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Space sciences/Space exploration

With the passing of the final Congressional appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013, investment in federal research will reach its lowest point since 2002, according to new estimates released by AAAS on 22 March.

The drop primarily reflects the influence of sequestration, the across-the-board cuts that took effect on 1 March, according to R&D Budget and Policy Program director Matt Hourihan, who conducted the analysis.

total13cPIEYesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 as expected, on a 318-109 vote.




A small AAAS delegation led by Nobel laureate Peter Agre returned from a week-long visit to Iran deeply impressed by the nation’s commitment to research and education and by the warm welcome they received from science leaders, researchers, and students.

The delegation was invited and hosted by the Vice President of Iran for Science and Technology, Nasrin Soltankhah, and it featured delegation members giving lectures at elite Iranian universities and civic organizations and meeting with top government and science policy officials.

Updated July 9, 2012

Not so long ago, Jim Head would put in a full day at the Raytheon Co. plant in Tucson, then go out to teach night classes in astronomy at the local community college. Much of his work at Raytheon was focused on civil space programs—space travel was a passion dating to his youth. But it seemed vitally important to work with young people, to share with them the mysteries and mission of space exploration and the thrill of science itself.

To learn more about the solar system’s formation and the potential for extraterrestrial life, speakers in an AAAS Annual Meeting press briefing said debating what makes a planet is not as important as finding bodies that have planet-like characteristics.

At the 17 February 2008 briefing, Michael Meyer, an associate professor and astronomer at the University of Arizona, cited a paper he authored in the 1 February issue of The Astrophysics Journal in which he estimates between 20 and 60 percent of stars contain rocky planets similar to Earth around them.