The first three decades of planetary exploration tell a story that sounds all-too-familiar to modern day space advocates. Growth, peak, and then collapse of hard-earned capability. This is the story of planetary science for the first half of its existence.
The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Planetary Exploration Funding
NASA has explored the planets since the 1960s, but funding has rarely been consistent
NASA has explored the solar system since the 1960s, but it has rarely been the top priority for the space agency. Jason Callahan breaks down how planetary science has been funded over the years within NASA's larger budget.
NASA’s Big Rocket a Step Closer to Reality
The Space Launch System has been approved for production
NASA's Space Launch System passed a critical milestone yesterday, but buried within the announcement was news that the first launch could slip by nearly a year.
The Competition for Dollars
What is NASA's main competition for funding within the federal budget? It's not what you think.
We all know NASA needs more money to achieve its goals. But competition for money is intense within the U.S. federal government, and two trends have made it harder for NASA to get what it needs.
For the second day in a row, the Senate failed to vote on a bill that would fund NASA and other agencies in 2015. Without passage, no progress can be made addressing the flaws contained within.
The House Passes a $435 Million Increase to NASA's Budget
Vote of 321-87 provides an extra $435 million above the President's 2015 request
After a multi-day floor debate, the House of Representatives passed its Commerce-Justice-Science funding bill, which included a NASA budget $435 million above the President's 2015 request and an increase to planetary science.
No, Russia Did Not Just Kick the U.S. Out of the Space Station
A top Russian official announced several unexpected policy changes in a response to U.S. sanctions.
A top Russian official announced a ban on Russian engines in U.S. military launches and questioned Russia's long-term commitment to the International Space Station. We cut through the hype and try to understand what was actually said and the immediate consequences facing NASA.
The House Proposes an Extra $435 million for NASA next year
A powerful statement of support for NASA, will the Senate follow?
Budget season is in full swing in Washington, D.C., and we're starting to see indications of how NASA will fare this year. I have to say, things are looking pretty promising.
The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?
The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.
Earlier this week, NASA announced that it was cutting off ties with Russia, except for activities relating to the ISS. This raised questions about Russian participation on NASA's science missions, particularly the Russian experiment on the Curiosity rover.
A Report from the First Hearing on the 2015 NASA Budget
The House Space Subcommittee Gets First Crack at the President's Budget
An animated NASA Administrator defended the commercial crew program as the fastest way to return to American access to low-Earth orbit in a hearing before the House Space Subcommittee today.
I gave a talk at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference this year where I summarized the planetary budget situation. Here is that talk.
[Updated] To Europa!...Slowly. First Impressions of NASA's New Budget Request
My first impressions of the 2015 NASA Budget Request from the White House
Europa may get a mission...eventually. We give our first take on the 2015 NASA Budget request. How does Planetary Exploration fare? Which projects were cancelled? Will NASA capture an asteroid? And most importantly, what can you do about it?
Slate's Misleading Hit Piece on the Future of NASA
Instead of a thoughtful essay, they published an uninformed screed
A response to Slate's recent piece on the future of NASA, correcting many of its myths and misconceptions about how NASA works.
Mars 2020 Is No Redo
The next major mission to Mars will push the envelope in technology
The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.
Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration
For the second year in a row Congress rejects cuts requested by the White House
Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.
NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes
Budget cuts slow down the rate of new missions
NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.