Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Bill Nye - Updated

Bad Budget News for NASA's Planetary Exploration Program

Posted by Bill Nye

10-04-2013 12:08 CDT

Topics: Planetary Society, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, Space Policy, FY2014 NASA Budget

The Administration just released its proposed budget for 2014 and it contains some very bad news for NASA's planetary exploration program.

Our initial review shows a cut of over $200 million from the previous year – a cut that will strangle future missions and reverse a decade's worth of investment building the world's premier exploration program.

Just three weeks ago the U.S. Congress rejected similar cuts proposed for planetary exploration last year. It was a clear statement of support by both Congress and the public: planetary exploration is an affordable national priority.

In other areas of the budget, NASA got approval to pursue a mission to capture and move an asteroid. This is intriguing and will receive a good deal of press coverage. But the disproportionate cuts to planetary science are disappointing and must get coverage, too. NASA did not get the message from Congress and the public about their wishes for missions to distant worlds.

We can restore funding to planetary exploration in 2014. We've done it before. Let's do it again.

Check out our political action section – Save Our Science – and learn how you can help.

See other posts from April 2013


Or read more blog entries about: Planetary Society, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, Space Policy, FY2014 NASA Budget


PapaJaguar: 04/10/2013 12:38 CDT

I read somewhere the other day that $75 million in seed money had been allocated (H.R. 933) for what a lot of people are calling the Europa Clipper mission. Is there any word on how stable that funding might be?

Bob Ware: 04/10/2013 01:02 CDT

I just noticed that the only projects, it seems to me, Obama wants to support are his Orion project related missions. The asteroid missions are a part of his plan for the Orion S/C. This specific asteroid mission can wait for Orion to fly to it as he envisioned or wait to be funded after Orion is built. That is my 2 cents worth of opinion.

Casey Dreier: 04/10/2013 03:10 CDT

@PapJaguar: That funding was allocated by Congress, so it only applies to this year. NASA did not request funding for 2014 or any additional years, so I'd say that qualifies as unstable!

Tam: 04/10/2013 06:47 CDT

Congress knows just what a "piddly" amount 200 million, or most monies spent on space programs take up of the Congressional budget. I personally believe this fact needs to hammered home into their small heads again and again until it hurts.

Edward Rhoads: 04/10/2013 07:58 CDT

So this means it drops from 4 billion to 3.8 billion? Ug awful. NASA is the target again so that politicians can claim to have done a lot to balance the budget by cutting NASA by 5%. Too bad it really needs to be increased by 300%.

Bob Ware: 04/10/2013 10:42 CDT

2nd thought on this after seeing Van Kanes' blog just now: that posting is here: Politicians are always short sighted therefore they always cut positive growth where they find it. In the U.S. gov't there are only two areas of positive growth... NASA and the military. Of the two only the military is a negative positive growth. NASA is a positive positive growth therefore it carries no budget validation and therefore must carry the full brunt of financial hardships, including budget cuts of unjustified reasons. Yeah, I'm mad - period.

LeRoy De Leon: 04/11/2013 12:22 CDT

Ah, to return to the 'Good Old Days' when Voyager, John Glenn, the 1st man on the moon and numerous other space achievements made US (U.S. Citizens) PROUD of our space technology. Even when coming home after school and sitting in front of the TV to watch Star Trek (and of course Bill Nye-The Science Guy on Saturdays!) and wonder what it would be like to travel the Universe, meet "ET" in person, discover Life on other Planets and wonder IF Time Travel was even possible! As a child I had so many questions about Space! Now I sit in front of the TV (retired) and watch The HISTORY Channels, Discovery Channel and other science related channels to keep that dream I had as a child growing up alive and see CGI's of our space technology, etc.

Mike K: 04/11/2013 08:27 CDT

Tell your Congressional representatives to Tax the Rich! Many rich people and corporations pay little or no tax today. The top tax rate between 1940 and 1980 was always above 70%. And during the 1950's the top tax rate was over 90%. We've done it before. Let's do it again.

Cardinal: 04/14/2013 12:04 CDT

Politics is why we got burdened with the STS program that set Mr. Leon's dreams back thirty years (arguably 50-60). Politics is why the first person to walk on Mars likely hasn't been born yet.

Doug Griffin: 04/16/2013 04:11 CDT

What’s really sad is that “we the people” have much more money – collectively – than any billionaire out there, but because of the shortsightedness of our politicians it may be private space flight that will actually make it happen. Looking at the planned, privately-financed manned expedition to Mars in 2018, I hope Mr. Tito is successful in making this a reality.

Mike K: 04/18/2013 05:03 CDT

In the U.S. the top 10% own 80% of all financial assets. In 2010 the top 1% got 93% of the income gains. This has been a disturbing trend for some time. And we see the results in budget cuts. If we want to pay for the programs we feel are important then we need to return to a 50's-era tax structure.

Zorbonian: 04/20/2013 01:28 CDT

I have felt for some time that the political agenda of certain factions in our government is to turn us into a 3rd world country, where rich people live in gated communities, and there are no social programs whatsoever. Perhaps a factor that helped the Democrats in November 2012 was Superstorm Sandy, and so the people who want to do away with a federal disaster fund got stuck with their feet in their mouths. But it is hard to tell which way things will go in the future and how much the people (the 99%) will actually remember. This incessant begging for funding for things like space science - which has so many more technological benefits unrelated to space - has got to stop. It should not even be a question. And - by the way - the rich did pretty well in the 50s in spite of their tax rate.

John: 05/23/2013 12:27 CDT

I signed the petition, and interestingly enough got a email back from my senator, John Cornyn today. He points out that the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111–267) was a step in the right direction, but did not mention this "bad news".

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Bill Nye at LightSail 2 pre-ship review
LightSail 2 pre-ship review team photo
Swirling maelstrom
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!