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Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz covers state, business and society for Quartz.
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NASA’s Chief Wants Former Astronaut Janet Kavandi To Help Run Things. Trump Is Looking At The Senate’s Admin Guy

July 10, 2018 How much space expertise does NASA need in its top office to launch humans safely into space? NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine is a former lawmaker, and he says he wants a former astronaut, Dr. Janet Kavandi, as his deputy. But Donald Trump, who makes the final decision, is leaning toward...

What Happens When Astronauts Drop Their Tools In Space

July 2, 2018 Excerpt from audio recordings of Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt during their first moonwalk in 1972: 123:42:22 Schmitt: Okay. [Pause] I didn’t mean to drop that, but I did. 123:42:31 Cernan: Yeah, we got to keep from dropping everything. I’ll tell you, the big lesson today… 123:42:35...

SpaceX Just Sold the US Air Force the Cheapest Enormous Rocket It’s Ever Bought

June 21, 2018 SpaceX has won its first contract to launch a classified military satellite on its Falcon Heavy rocket, beating out rival United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The launch contract will cost the U.S. Air Force $130 million, far less than the $350 million average cost...

NASA Can’t Find Most Of The Asteroids Threatening Earth, But It Has a Plan

June 21, 2018 If the movies teach us anything, it’s that the U.S. government has a small room with a few stressed-out bureaucrats worrying about every disaster that might arise. Volcanos? Absolutely. Pandemic influenza? You got it. Today, we heard from the killer asteroid team. The bad news? NASA is not going to...

NASA Can’t Find Most of the Asteroids Threatening Earth, But It Has a Plan

June 21, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If the movies teach us anything, it’s that the U.S. government has a small room with a few stressed-out bureaucrats worrying about every disaster that might arise. Volcanos? Absolutely. Pandemic influenza? You got it. Today, we heard from the killer asteroid team. The bad news? NASA is not going to...

Defense Contractors Are Helping Care for Detained Migrant Children

June 20, 2018 General Dynamics is one of the largest defense contractors in the country, a massive conglomerate that builds jets, tanks, bullets and submarines at facilities around the United States. It is also caring for the detained migrant children that the government has separated from their parents. President Trump’s decision to separate...

The 'Sonic Attack' in China May Have Been Clumsy Ultrasonic Eavesdropping, Expert Says

May 24, 2018 A U.S. diplomat in China has reported unpleasant feelings of pressure and irritating sounds, reminiscent of reports of experiences in Cuba that left 21 U.S. diplomats with brain injuries last year. “The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans...

The U.S. Government Wants to Start Charging for the Best Free Satellite Data on Earth

May 16, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. government may begin charging users for access to five decades of satellite images of Earth, just as academic and corporate researchers are gaining the tools they need to harness them. Nature reports that the Department of Interior has asked an advisory board to consider the consequences of charging...

NASA Is Going Back to Mars, And It's Going Deep

May 7, 2018 A mission more than eight years in the making, NASA launched the Mars InSight lander Saturday. The expedition will give scientists a new understanding of the geology and history of Mars—and perhaps the Earth as well. LIFTOFF! Humanity’s next mission to Mars has left the pad! @NASAInSight heads into space...

Radar Satellites Spying on Farms From Space Is a Taste of the Future Economy

April 25, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The images below, created by a radar satellite built and operated by a private company, are a taste of a future in which anyone can purchase the ability to monitor changes on Earth from space. ICEYE, a company in Finland, shared these exclusive radar images with Quartz to demonstrate the...