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Casey DreierNovember 15, 2012

Save Our Science: November Update

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.

In October, we asked you to start writing the President to share your opinion about funding planetary exploration. Our CEO, Bill Nye, recorded a video asking you to help.

Well, it's been exactly one month since we started that campaign, so here's where we are:

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.

You can re-read our FAQs on why we're writing to the President, and what's at stake.

If you haven't written yet, I encourage you to write right now.

Then tell your friends, and make sure that they tell their friends.

Remember, there's so many beautiful places to we can explore; there's so much to know. We just need to decide to go.

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Read more: Space Policy, Future Mission Concepts, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, Mars

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Casey Dreier

Director of Space Policy for The Planetary Society
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