Exploring the solar system costs far less than most people think. NASA's Planetary Science Division, which funds all planetary missions, amounts to 0.04% of the U.S. federal budget, and that's before the proposed cuts. We here at the Planetary Society believe very strongly that keeping it at this level is affordable, especially for the astounding scientific, engineering, and awe-inspiring returns we enjoy from solar system exploration.
To help emphasize the concept of affordability and to provide overall context, we're putting together a new site that compares the cost of Planetary Science at NASA to other programs, people, things, whatever. And we'd like you to help.
So do you have ideas? Submit an entry! We'll pick the best ones for use in our upcoming online project. We'll also enter your name into a drawing for a signed print of our CEO Bill Nye's origin story in comic form, seen at right.
Use the number of $1.5 billion for Planetary Science. That's our target and what the division received in 2012.
Keep it positive. Just because something costs more than Planetary Science doesn't mean it's not deserving. The point is that funding Planetary Science doesn't prevent other projects from receiving support.
You need to provide a source for your information so we can verify it independently. These statements need to stand on their own without dispute.
Yes, the military gets a lot of money. Let's be original and find other line-items or specific programs that sound more interesting.
Planetary Society staff and family can enter suggestions, but will not be entered into the prize drawing.
If you are under 18, please have a parent or guardian submit an entry for you.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. Can you do better?
Apple, Inc. could independently fund the entire planetary science program for the next 65 years [source]
Americans spend more every year buying dog toys ($1.9 billion) than they do on all planetary science ($1.5 billion) [source]
Tax loopholes for oil companies cost the U.S. taxpayer 3 times more than our planetary science program [source]