Obviously the Earth ends and space begins somewhere, but today, as it has been for the entirety of humanity's manned and unmanned exploration of "up there", there is no international legal definition of space, no clear indication of where space law applies! This ambiguity is a potential source of confusion and unease for aerospace companies.
After NASA Night at the 2012 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, a group of young scientists (most of us just out of graduate school) met to discuss what we could do both in the near and far term to revive NASA's ability to continue the flagship mission program we would all like to see in our future.
The President's proposed 2013 NASA budget calls for deep cuts to the nation's very successful planetary science program. These cuts not only threaten the future of planetary science, but also impact our ability to conduct deep space missions. As the next generation of planetary scientists, the graduate student community is deeply concerned about the ramifications of these budget cuts, and we must voice our concerns to policymakers in Washington, D.C.
NASA's Mars science exploration budget is being decimated, we are not going back to the Moon, and plans for astronauts to visit Mars are delayed until the 2030s -- on funding not yet allocated, overseen by a congress and president to be named later.
The Planetary Society is deeply troubled with the priorities reflected in NASA's FY13 budget. If implemented, it will portend grave consequences for our nation's ability to conduct deep-space science missions and could irreversibly erode unique aspects of the space industrial base needed for such missions.
Recent deep funding cuts by the Administration and Congress for NASA's space exploration programs are turning the final frontier into an ever-receding dream. "To boldly go" is quickly becoming "to cheaply dink around."
Today, NASA announced its budget for its fiscal year 2013. As you might imagine, there are large budget cuts. But, the planetary science program has been cut disproportionately. NASA's allocations are out of balance.
This weeks Planetary Radio features updates on the James Webb Space Telescope, from Deputy Project Director Eric Smith. The discussion centers around the budget controversy, and why the JWST is worth the money.
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?"