Investing in NASA makes us smarter, improves our lives, and increases our capability to overcome technological challenges. Even more important, though, are the intangible benefits of pride, respect from other nations, respect for our place in the universe, and hope for a future in which we can accomplish even greater things.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed appropriations bills that will provide $8.1 billion disaster aid for this year's "extreme weather events." The aid will be funded by a proposed 1.83% across-the-board cut to all FY 2012 base discretionary spending, including NASA and NOAA.
NASA had planned to release next Monday an RFP (Request for Proposals) in its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. However, due to a funding shortfall, the agency will instead continue to use Space Act Agreements to contract for the development.
Today, The Planetary Society entered the following statement into testimony for the hearing "Exploring Mars and Beyond: What Next for U.S. Planetary Science?" held by the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
If want to demonstrate your support for planetary exploration -- and you're planning to be in the Washington, D.C. area next Tuesday, November 15, 2011 -- please consider adding your presence to the congressional hearing on "Exploring Mars and Beyond: What's Next for U.S. Planetary Science?"
The European Space Agency (ESA) seems to have gotten tired of waiting for NASA to commit to its share of the joint 2016/2018 Mars missions that were planned to lay the groundwork for an eventual delivery of samples of Mars to Earth.