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Write the President to Save Planetary Exploration (FAQ)

Our final advocacy push of 2012

Posted by Casey Dreier

14-10-2012 24:40 CDT

Topics: Space Policy

Can you take a minute and write to President Obama for our final advocacy push of 2012?

This effort represents the final piece of our Save Our Science strategy this year. We've had you write to Congress, staff members at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and now we finish with the President.

Why the President? Simple:

  • Right now, the budget for 2014 is being drafted by the OMB.
  • We want the cuts proposed in the 2013 budget reversed in the 2014 budget.
  • The OMB works for the President.
  • A clear signal of support from the President would help the OMB back away from the cuts proposed in 2013.

Please share this with your friends and on your social networks! Let's make this one count.

Write the President Now proceed arrow

I'm going to switch into FAQ mode now. Please ask additional questions in the comment section.

What's this all about again?

In the proposed 2013 budget, NASA's planetary exploration division was given a $309 million cut (about 21%). This kind of cut prevents NASA from pursuing the most important missions to Mars and Europa (not to mention anywhere else). Missions like Curiosity would be a thing of the past.

The Planetary Society has been fighting against these proposed cuts all year. Congress was set to restore some of this money, but they recessed for the elections without passing a budget. We've been talking to key decision-makers in D.C. all year, and our members and supporters have been crucial in sharing their passion for planetary exploration with those who count.

Isn't the President busy, is he he even going to pay attention?

Letters to the President do get read, tallied, and reported on, and I believe a few get selected for the President to read every day. We've also called the communications office at the White House and they've assured us that the letters will be seen by the right people.

Why write the President now?

Right now, the OMB is drafting the 2014 budget. A clear signal of support for NASA's Planetary Exploration program from the President or other members of his administration can influence funding in this crucial stage.

Also, in previous posts about the new future of NASA's Mars program, we have launch opportunities in 2018 and 2020 and a proposed mission plan to return samples from Mars to the Earth. The first step in this plan would be to land a rover in 2018 that would collect viable samples to be returned in a later mission. NASA needs to know now if it's going to have the money to pursue these missions so it can hit that launch window.

Doesn't Congress allocate money? Why not write Congress?

We had a big effort write Congress earlier in the year. Bill Nye even went to Washington and hand-delivered thousands of letters to various representatives. Both the Senate and the House budgets restored some of the funding for planetary exploration, but they never finished the job. No 2013 budget was passed, and there's currently a "continuing resolution" that funds the government until March of 2013. Writing Congress now would do nothing to change this. Next year we'll mostly likely ask you to write them again, when the time is right.

To answer the other question, yes, Congress does allocate money to an agency but only on a yearly basis. The Office of Management and Budget helps set the long-term priorities within a federal agency and via a 5-year funding projection. It's this 5-year budget that is crucial for us to influence right now so NASA can start working on the next missions as soon as possible.

When will we know if our messages worked?

Unfortunately, the budget preparation process is not public. The soonest we'll know is the unveiling of the 2014 budget in February of next year.

I don't support the President or his policies. Why should I write?

You should still write the President on behalf of NASA's planetary science program. Even if you don't support all (or any) of the President's policies, you're still his constituent (if you're a U.S. citizen) and he and his staffers will listen. Your opinions on this matter still count (just be polite, please).

I'm not a United States citizen, can I still write?

Yes! Non-citizens are encouraged to share their support. Just add your country and select "None" under the "State" drop-down menu.

What does Bill Nye think about this?

Ok, I'm ready to write the President and help save Planetary Exploration. Where do I go?

Click Here to Write the President Now proceed arrow

See other posts from October 2012


Or read more blog entries about: Space Policy


Zorbonian: 10/11/2012 03:05 CDT

But if you are a U.S. citizen, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you VOTE this election year - people of ALL socio-economic backgrounds should vote. And if you want to see science funding continue, I guess you already know who you should be voting for. (And if you don't, let's just say that the Republican party DOES NOT support science funding.)

Leonidas: 10/11/2012 03:44 CDT

I really don't want to get into politics, and tell people what to vote. I'm not even a US citizen. But I'd like to share this post from Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog, because I think this thing's important and transcends politics and political parties. The article is called "The US Congress Anti-Science Committee" and you can read it below:

Casey Dreier (TPS): 10/11/2012 06:10 CDT

@Zorbonian and @Leonidas: Thanks for your comments, but I'd like to keep this post free of political opinion and more focused on political *action* in the service of our Planetary Science program. Also, don't forget that many Republicans in Congress and the Senate are strong supporters of NASA. This is an increasingly rare area of bi-partisan agreement, and we aim to work with all parties on the issue.

Mars Lover: 10/12/2012 12:19 CDT

If you want us to mail letters to various folks, shouldn't you give us their snail mail address? That way we could send in envelopes from all over the US wiht different handwriting etc and it would be awesome. Sure, I can look up the White House address, but if you want us to write to OMB and all the others Bill Nye suggests, why not make it easy and give us the EXACT and CORRECT address to send to? A lot of writers would likely mail to wrong addresses....

Casey Dreier (TPS): 10/12/2012 02:25 CDT

@Mars Lover: The problem with sending snail mail to either Congress or the White House is that it can take up to eight weeks to get processed. These are due to security processing. So times like now, when we need to get the message out to the President soon (while the budget is still being created), email will be the best route. Next time, we'll make sure to post full addresses as well. Thanks!

Sleeperman: 10/12/2012 06:08 CDT

Zorbonian and Leonidas: Please back away from the Kool-Aid!

fthurber: 10/13/2012 12:11 CDT

The issue of who to support is complicated. The current Administration has let down the Planetary Science community with its de-funding of Mars exploration but its support for science (and non-creationism) education and other issues offsets this.

Zorbonian: 10/15/2012 11:02 CDT

Wishcraft won't make it happen. Nonetheless, I applaud your efforts.

Shinsaku Higashide: 12/10/2012 01:41 CST

Ithink My Society is very very fine. Thanks Very Much. Good Luck

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