Show an ad over header. AMP

Biden takes Trump's lead in space

The Biden administration is staying the course set out by the Trump administration when it comes to space, at least for now.

Why it matters: Administrations often abandon their predecessors' goals in favor of new ones when they come to power. That kind of "moonshot whiplash" can leave NASA stuck on Earth because it takes consistency between administrations to accomplish large exploration goals.


Driving the news: Earlier this month, the Biden administration affirmed its plans to continue the Artemis program to land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon.

  • The administration also threw its weight behind the Space Force, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying the new military branch has the "full support of the Biden administration."
  • "I'm very proud of the Biden administration for sticking with these very important measures," Jim Bridenstine, Trump's NASA administrator, told me. "My goal from day one was to create a program that was sustainable, that would be able to cross from one administration to the next."
  • The Biden administration is also re-emphasizing the importance of climate change research at NASA, appointing Gavin Schmidt as the agency's acting senior climate adviser, a new role expected to help lead NASA's climate research.

Yes, but: While some political appointments have been made at NASA, the administration has yet to put forth a nomination for NASA administrator, a key position that will drive the course of the space agency.

  • The first Artemis mission was expected to get people to the surface of the Moon by 2024, but that's looking less likely now, and some are recommending that the landing date be moved back for safety and funding reasons.
  • Experts are also wondering how space policy and directives centered on space will be managed under this administration, due to the possible dissolution of the National Space Council.

Between the lines: So far, many of Biden's moments of space news have been due to questions from the press, not statements from the administration driving the news themselves.

  • "They've not taken a lot of interest in space," unlike the Trump administration, Todd Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me. "This wasn't part of the campaign, and it's apparently not something that they've taken time to get up to speed on and really dive into."

What to watch: Even though space appears to be on the radar for Biden now, the real test will be how much funding he proposes in the administration's budget.

  • "You can say all the great words in the world about Artemis," the Planetary Society's Casey Dreier told me. "You can say all the great things you want about NASA, but when it comes down to it, NASA needs the resources to succeed."

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

Keep reading... Show less

Ripple CEO calls for clearer crypto regulations following SEC lawsuit

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Keep reading... Show less

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.

Keep reading... Show less

COVID Tracking Project officially ends daily updates, citing improved government transparency

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.

Keep reading... Show less

As Congress eyes massive infrastructure bill, energy and climate move closer to center stage

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

Keep reading... Show less

The European Central Bank and the market's moment of truth

The biggest event for markets this week will be Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank's governing council and the press conference following it from ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Why it matters: With interest rates jumping around the globe, investors are looking to central bank heads to see if they will follow the lead of Fed chair Jerome Powell, who says rising rates are nothing to worry about, or Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has drawn a line in the sand on rates.

Keep reading... Show less

Joe Manchin pledges to block Biden's infrastructure bill if Republicans aren't included

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Keep reading... Show less

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

The state of play: "This case may be the most highly publicized criminal trial in a long time. ... That means that it's harder to find people who really have an open mind," Richard Frase, University of Minnesota Law School professor of criminal law, told Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories