The last six weeks have been especially busy due to an unusually high number of conferences and festivals, so I thought I'd summarize what's been going on and how The Planetary Society has been involved.
The Senate released early details about its budget for NASA in 2015. The top-line level, $17.9 billion, is an increase over the President's proposal and matches the level passed by the full House last week.
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.
The Planetary Society strongly supports NASA's asteroid initiative, including the goal of redirecting an asteroid to the vicinity of the Moon. But an independent cost estimate is needed, and needed soon.
NASA selected 21 Participating Scientists to join the Dawn team in 2010, prior to Dawn's arrival at Vesta in 2011. Since that time, Dawn Participating Scientists have made enormous contributions to the mission, as they do for most other NASA missions. But the status of a Participating Scientist program for Dawn at Ceres has been in doubt.
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.
For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. The dance is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.
Last month, we asked our supporters to help us raise at least $125,000 to support our advocacy program that works to fund planetary exploration and NASA. We've raised nearly $100,000, but need help reaching our stretch goal.
The House revealed details of its draft NASA budget today, including an increase of $170 million to Planetary Science above the White House's request for 2015, putting it within spitting distance of our goal of $1.5 billion.
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.
Calling your senators and representatives about NASA's budget isn't that bad. In fact, I just took 15 minutes out of my day to do it! If you're not sure what to say to support planetary exploration, I hope you'll be inspired by what I've transcribed from my phone call this afternoon.
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?