As you know the Planetary Society has been working very hard lately on reversing the cuts to NASA's Planetary Science division in the upcoming 2014 budget (some money was restored by Congress for 2013, but that budget was never passed. We're waiting until the Spring to focus on that again).
We need to get this money back for the 2014 budget and beyond. The next big launch opportunity for the first mission of a Martian sample return is 2018, which means NASA needs to start working on the next mission now.
Well, it's been exactly one month since we started that campaign, so here's where we are:
We've sent over 16,700 emails to the White House through our system.
Thousands more were sent by the memberships of the American Geophysical Union and the AAS's Division for Planetary Sciences.
Bill Nye's video has had over 881,000 views on YouTube, making it our most popular video ever.
Our campaign was written up on Yahoo News and Space Politics
This is good, and I'm actually quite pleased with the response.
But, to be frank, it's not good enough.
NASA's little planetary sciences division is caught in a perfect storm of Congressional inaction, recessionary pressures, and an agency with many diverse priorities. Even though we're talking about a small amount of money, federal government-wise, the mood on Capitol Hill is not in our favor. NASA itself is struggling to achieve everything it has on its plate, which includes the SLS, the crew capsule, commercial spaceflight, running the Space Station, Earth sciences, heliophysics, astrophysics, the James Webb Space Telescope, aeronautics, and maintaining its workforce and centers around the country. It has to do all of this with a budget that is about $2 billion less than it was promised just a few years ago.
My point is that while the response we've had is good, it really has to be astounding if we're going to make a difference. We need your help to make it astounding.