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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Astronomy is still dealing with its own sexual harassment reckoning that came two years before the #MeToo movement swept through the entertainment industry, I write with Axios managing editor Alison Snyder.
Why it matters: Harassment, bias and discrimination lead to the underrepresentation of women — and particularly women of color, women with disabilities and LGBTQ+ women — in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.
Driving the news: A new report from the National Academy of Sciences calls on federal funding agencies, universities and science organizations to take systemic action to address the factors that keep women from advancing in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) careers.
Background: In 2015, a BuzzFeed News investigation led to the resignation of Geoff Marcy, a prominent astronomer who had been in the running for a Nobel Prize at one point in his career.
What's happening: The American Astronomical Society (AAS) launched a program last year that sends a site visit team, if invited, to audit university astronomy departments to evaluate and help improve their cultures with an eye toward inclusivity.
Yes, but: While astronomy and other academic institutions have responded to the sexual harassment problem, some say it hasn't been enough — or fast enough.
A SpaceX rocket launch timelapse. Photo: SpaceX
Space-focused startups raked in $5.7 billion in financing in 2019, far surpassing the $3.5 billion raised in 2018, according to a new report from Bryce Space and Technology.
Why it matters: The report and others like it show investors still see the industry — buoyed by investor interest and new international companies — as ripe for investment.
Details: SpaceX, Blue Origin, OneWeb and Virgin Galactic accounted for about 70% of the investment tracked in the report.
Between the lines: Starzyk advises those interested in investing in space to look for opportunities beyond rocket companies — for example, companies building ground segments or other, less sexy parts of the industry.
The big picture: There are still major questions about where the space industry and investment in it will go from here, including when companies might become profitable.
Artist's illustration of Voyager 2 in space. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Voyager 2 — one of the farthest-flung spacecraft ever built — won't be able to receive commands from Earth until 2021.
Why it matters: If something goes wrong with the spacecraft in the next 11 months, it could mark the end of the long, iconic mission that is now exploring interstellar space, 11.5 billion miles from Earth.
Details: The communication disruption — which began on Monday — is necessary so that engineers can make repairs to a 70-meter antenna in Canberra, Australia that sends commands from the ground to Voyager 2.
The 70-meter antenna is part of the Deep Space Network, a 24/7 matrix of instruments around the world that are responsible for communication with distant spacecraft around the solar system.
What's next: Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, are expected to have enough power to collect at least some science data through 2027, assuming no new issues crop up, according to NASA.
Artist's illustration of the Perseverance rover on Mars. Photo: NASA
Musk: We're not spinning off Starlink (Caleb Henry, Space News)
NASA employee tests positive for coronavirus (Tariq Malik, Space.com)
Oddly dimming star isn't about to explode after all (Nadia Drake, National Geographic)
NASA's next Mars rover is named Perseverance (Axios)
Axiom and SpaceX plan to launch private crew to International Space Station (Axios)
The hiking on Mars must be pretty sweet. A new panoramic image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows the mountains of the Red Planet in all their glory.
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