I have been in Washington, D.C. this week, meeting with various congressional staffers and policy experts to discuss the importance of funding NASA's Planetary Exploration program. The meetings have gone well, and I feel that there is good support from Congress on this issue. I am optimistic, but of course there are many, many issues to be resolved before we have any concrete results. All of us at the Planetary Society are keeping the pressure on to restore funding. Next week, our COO, Jennifer Vaughn, and CEO, Bill Nye, will travel to D.C. to pick up where I left off.
Dr. Rice speaking to Planetary Society members
Casey Dreier presenting the latest Society news to members in D.C.
During my visit, I was fortunate to be able to organize a gathering of Planetary Society members at George Washington University to hear the latest news from the Curiosity and Opportunity missions. Dr. Melissa Rice, a member of the Project Science team on both missions, presented the latest results.
I also took the opportunity to present some of the latest news on our Advocacy efforts and projects, including LightSail 1, the Shoemaker NEO grants, and a really exciting soon-to-be-announced project I can't mention online yet.
I had a lot of fun, received good comments, questions, and had the pleasure of meeting many of our local members in the area. I am always struck by how dedicated, committed, and thoughtful our members are at the Society. We are a fortunate organization.
This was an exclusive event for our members (oh, not a member? Think about joining!). I plan to do more of these when I travel around the country in the future.
Finally, I want to take a moment and publicly extend my huge thanks to Planetary Society Board Member Dr. John Logsdon, Emeritus Professor at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, for arranging our meeting location at GWU. Caitlin House was also instrumental in providing the logistical support that allowed the meeting to run smoothly.