President Trump released his proposed NASA budget, Budweiser announced it wants to brew beer on Mars and the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane neared an orbital record. Here are the most interesting things that happened in the universe this week.
President Trump unveils NASA budget request
The Trump administration released its 2018 budget request on March 16, a proposal that calls for the cancellation of NASA's astronauts-to-an-asteroid mission along with four Earth-science missions and NASA's Office of Education. [Trump's 2018 NASA Budget Request Would Scrap Asteroid Redirect Mission]
Beer on Mars
Budweiser has committed to brewing a beer for colonists on the Red Planet. "The King of Beers" revealed its "Bud On Mars" long-term effort, including plans to launch experiments to the space station, at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. [Budweiser Aims to Brew First Beer on Mars, Plans Space Station Experiments]
X-37B space plane closing in on record
The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane is just eight days away from breaking its mission-duration record of 674 days in orbit. [Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Nears Orbital Record]
Stellar corpse cozies up to black hole
A white dwarf star whips around its companion black hole once every 28 minutes, a new study suggests. That means the duo are likely separated by just 2.5 Earth-moon distances — the tightest such orbit ever observed around a black hole. [Record-Setting Star Orbits Dangerously Close to Black Hole]
SpaceX launches huge satellite from historic NASA pad
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 6-ton Echostar 23 communications satellite from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Thursday morning (March 16). The mission was the first SpaceX flight in nearly two years that didn't feature a landing attempt by a Falcon 9 first stage. [SpaceX Rocket Launches EchoStar 23 Communications Satellite Into Orbit]
Enceladus' ocean not buried so deep
The ocean beneath the icy shell of Saturn's moon Enceladus rises nearly to the surface in some places, a new study suggests. [Saturn Moon Enceladus' Buried Ocean Comes Close to Surface]
Titan 'magic island' mystery solved?
The strangely shifting island-like features in several of the Saturn moon Titan's hydrocarbon seas may actually be rafts of fizzing nitrogen bubbles, a new study suggests. [Fizzy Titan! Saturn Moon's Mysterious 'Magic Islands' May Be Nitrogen Bubbles]
Blue Origin: Crewed flights within 12 months?
The spaceflight company Blue Origin, which was founded by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, plans to launch its first crewed flight to suborbital space soon. [Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Plans Crewed Launch Within a Year]
Musk and Bezos both shooting for the moon
The rivalry between billionaire space entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos may soon reach all the way to the moon. [To the Moon! The Musk-Bezos Billionaire Space Rivalry Just Reached New Heights]
Huge exoplanet in death spiral
A giant planet that is scorchingly close to its star may not survive for long, a new study finds. The planet started a death spiral more than 2 billion years ago, and may have just a few hundred thousand years of life left before it gets torn apart. [Giant Alien Planet Is Spiraling to Fiery Doom]
Will astronauts "hibernate" on way to Mars?
The aerospace engineering company SpaceWorks Enterprises thinks that the first human missions to Mars could employ a hibernation system for astronauts as soon as the early or mid-2030s. [Hibernation for Deep-Space Exploration Could Happen Sooner Than You Imagined]
Satellites eye Winter Storm Stella
As a winter storm prepared to wallop the U.S. East Coast last week, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) kept a close eye on the storm by satellite. [Satellites Track Huge Snow Storm's Approach to US East Coast (Video)]
Dark matter surprise
Although the invisible substance known as dark matter dominates galaxies nowadays, it was apparently only a minor ingredient of galaxies in the early universe, a new study finds. [Dark Matter Was Likely a Minor Ingredient in Early Galaxies, Study Finds]
Huge Martian dust storms
Two large dust storms in two weeks, each spanning an area larger than the United States, have researchers pondering the atmospheric dynamics on Mars. [US-Sized Dust Storms Seen on Mars]