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NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator was to use less Plutonium for cheaper missions.

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/15 04:06 CST | 32 comments

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

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We Need You to Stand Up for Planetary Exploration
Right now is a crucial time for future funding

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/08 12:39 CST | 1 comment

Congress and the White House are making decisions that impact funding for NASA's Planetary Exploration missions. We need to tell them that YES we are paying attention and care about the future of exploration.

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Power From the Isotopes
The United States is trying to generate plutonium fuel for the first time in 25 years. Will it succeed?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/29 01:21 CDT | 2 comments

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

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One More U.N. Step Forward on NEOs

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/24 04:17 CDT | 1 comment

This week, the United Nations will move one step closer to an international response to the threat from near Earth objects (NEOs).

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Announcement for DPS 2013: New plan for "Agency Night" features...me!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/07 05:58 CDT | 1 comment

I'll be representing The Planetary Society on a quickly-replanned panel at tomorrow's Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Agency Night, in the absence of any representatives from federal funding agencies.

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Government shutdown closes 3 of 4 National Radio Astronomy Observatories

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/04 06:38 CDT | 3 comments

The shutdown of the federal government continues to claim casualties. Today, the Green Bank Telescope, Very Large Array, and Very Long Baseline Arrays all shut their doors, blinding us to the radio sky and scuttling long-term research projects.

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[Updated] A Government Shutdown Could Delay MAVEN's Launch to Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/30 05:17 CDT | 2 comments

NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.

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Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out
The Planetary Society works to maintain plutonium availability for deep space missions

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/20 11:29 CDT | 3 comments

Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.

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Our Debt to NASA - Fighting the Pernicious Myth of NASA as Unnecessary

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/10 04:08 CDT | 10 comments

A recent article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine highlights how the pernicious myth of NASA as wasteful spending perpetuates through our culture.

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A Division of Planetary Science
When Scientists Can't Agree on Priorities, Should Politicians Listen?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/10 09:31 CDT | 3 comments

When scientists can't agree on priorities, will politicians listen? A reflection on a recent public policy session from the European Planetary Science Congress in London.

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Mars, Old and New: A Personal View by Bruce Murray

Posted by Jennifer Vaughn on 2013/09/03 06:07 CDT | 1 comment

An interview with Bruce Murray from 2001 about his perspectives on Mars science and exploration: past, present, and future.

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NASA Backs Off From Additional Planetary Cuts in 2013
Operating plan provides $1.271 billion

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/01 03:44 CDT | 5 comments

The final operating plan for the space agency provided $75 million more to planetary exploration than initially proposed.

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August Advocacy Update: Where We Stand
The House and Senate have increased funding for Planetary Science thanks to your letters and phone calls

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/08/15 07:02 CDT | 6 comments

Planetary exploration sees strong support from both parties in the current budget process, but we have a long way to go before a budget is passed this year.

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NASA Leadership Moving On

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/08/09 01:45 CDT | 2 comments

Both Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and CFO Beth Robinson are leaving NASA within the next few months.

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"NASA non-concurs"

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/30 08:58 CDT | 7 comments

NASA responds to its advisory council's recommendations from April of this year.

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Should National Rivalries Still Drive U.S. Space Policy?

Posted by Lori Dajose on 2013/07/25 02:37 CDT | 5 comments

The House recently passed a NASA Authorization Bill that called for "American astronauts launching from American rockets on American soil". If we depend on international collaboration, should these policies still drive NASA policy?

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Congress Rejects NASA's First Operating Plan
Attempt to Raid Planetary Science Funding Stopped

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/15 11:33 CDT | 1 comment

NASA's plan to raid Planetary Science funding to pay for sequester cuts in other science programs was rejected by Congress earlier this month. NASA is now working on a new plan that has yet to be submitted for approval.

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Dueling Op-Eds on NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/11 01:29 CDT | 9 comments

NASA Administrator Bolden and the Chairman of the House Science Committee published opposing op-eds in The Hill newspaper today, illustrating the uphill battle NASA faces to sell Congress on this mission.

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If we started today, how long would it take to get to Mars? With this budget, never.
Analysis of the House Science Committee Hearing on the 2013 NASA Authorization Bill

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/06/19 04:38 CDT | 6 comments

The House of Representatives held a hearing today to discuss their proposed NASA authorization bill, which would fund Planetary Science, cut Earth Science, forbid asteroid retrieval, and command NASA to pursue a path to Mars via the Moon.

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Confirmed: NASA Defies the Will of Congress by Raiding Planetary Science Funding [updated]

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/06/10 03:40 CDT | 13 comments

Despite congressional rejection of massive cuts to Planetary Science this year, NASA has found a way to implement the cuts internally and use the money for other purposes.

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