Status Report

NASA Weekly Update from the Administrator – March 23, 2020

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2020
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Most of the agency remains at Stage 3 of NASA’s Response Framework to COVID-19, with mandatory telework for all employees and limited exceptions for on-site work. Ames, Michoud and Stennis are at Stage 4 with personnel on-site to protect life and critical infrastructure. Recently, Glenn Research Center in Ohio and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City have also been elevated to Stage 4. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the health of our workforce. Agency leadership is regularly evaluating mission-essential activities and determining what can safely proceed and what should be completed through telework. Please continue to stay in frequent contact with your supervisor and check the NASA People website regularly for updates.
·        Top News: Our Curiosity Mars rover set a record for the steepest terrain ever climbed, and in celebration took a commemorative selfie! The feat was accomplished under the careful supervision of team members at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Keep up the great work!
·        Next Up: We will record a virtual town hall to answer your questions about NASA’s response to COVID-19. Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk and Chief Health and Medical Officer Dr. J.D. Polk will also be available to answer questions. The question queue is open till noon EDT on Tuesday, March 24. Please submit your questions here and click on the “Ask the Administrator” event. The recording will be posted online Wednesday, March 25.
·        Shout Out: I have two shout outs this week: 
First, the latest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication was released last week. This issue details how NASA technology is helping enable development of flying taxis, show a self-driving car what’s coming down the road and much more. Great job to our Space Technology Mission Directorate team!
Second, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced today the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. NASA’s supercomputing expertise will help this elite group of industry, academic and federal agency partners conduct research quickly, develop treatments and bring an end to this pandemic. Thank you to the Ames Research Center and all on the NASA team who are assisting this effort!
Last week, I was saddened to hear of Apollo astronaut Al Worden’s passing from natural causes. As we celebrate his life, I’d like to draw attention to an observation he made about his mission to the Moon. “Now I know why I’m here,” Worden said, “Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.” The Artemis program and everything NASA does is meant to elevate the human condition and expand our knowledge of the cosmos.
Ad astra,
Jim Bridenstine

SpaceRef staff editor.