"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading the latest news in space research and technology.
1.) Monster solar storm, biggest in years, batters the planet. The biggest solar storm in over five years is battering our planet right now, and may cause disruptions to satellites, power grids and communications networks. According to space and weather experts, these disruptions may be felt over the next 24 - 48 hours.
2.) NASA Chief defends space budget needs to Congress. NASA chief Charles Bolden was required to defend the U.S. space agency's proposed 2013 budget to members of Congress on March 7. Under the 2013 budget request, the agency would receive $17.7 billion, a $59 million drop from its 2012 funding level.
3.) Air Force space drone's secret mission hits one-year mark. One year after the Air Force blasted an experimental robotic space drone in to orbit, it continues to circle the Earth. However, its mission remains a mystery. The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was launched March 5, 2011.
4.) NASA to launch 5 rockets to test winds at edge of space. People along the East Coast may be able to see a NASA experiment that will launch a series of rockets to learn more about jet stream winds that circle the Earth at the edge of space. The rockets will be launched on a clear night between March and April this year.
5.) Twin NASA moon probes begin mapping lunar gravity. Two unmanned spacecraft began mapping the moon's gravity field Tuesday as part of a NASA mission to probe the structure and evolution of Earth's nearest neighbor. NASA's twin Grail (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) spacecraft will spend 84 days studying the lunar gravitational field.
Image credit: NASA