Today’s Tidbits: October 31, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 31, 2017

Here are our tidbits for October 31, 2017:  Senate Commerce touts praise for Bridenstine; Happy Halloween from NASA.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Senate Commerce Committee Touts Bipartisan and Community Support for Bridenstine

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold its confirmation hearing for Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 10:00 am ET.  He is one of four Trump nominees who will be questioned at the hearing. The other three are not for NASA positions.  The hearing will be webcast [].

This afternoon, the Committee issued a press release touting bipartisan and space community support for the nomination.  Only one member of Congress is cited — Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO).  The others are Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, John Hamre (President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies), Doug Loverro (former Deputy Assistant Secretary of DOD for Space Policy), and Paul Spudis (Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute).

The nomination is controversial.  Florida’s two Senators, Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) argue that a politician should not be running NASA and that Bridenstine lacks a technical background or experience running a large organization like NASA.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) opposes him because he has made statements that indicate he does not accept the scientific consensus regarding climate change, and because of his views on violence against women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.

Advocates insist that during his 5-year tenure in Congress he has been a leader on space policy issues, supports commercial space as well as government space, and is a Trump supporter (so presumably will be in tune with what the Administration wants to do).  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who chairs the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, which oversees NASA, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, are among his supporters.

Happy Halloween

NASA is celebrating Halloween by sharing spooky images of real life celestial objects today. Here are two:  the Sun in 2014 looking like a glowing pumpkin (learn about why it looks that way at, and a collection of over 1,000 stars in Eridanus bearing a striking resemblance to a witch’s head — and hence it’s name, the Witch Head Nebula (learn more at


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