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What We're Doing About NASA's Planetary Science Budget Cut

Posted by Casey Dreier

16-04-2013 17:43 CDT

Topics: mission status, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, FY2014 NASA Budget

On April 10th, the President's 2014 Budget was released and it contained bad news (i.e. $200 million cut) for NASA's Planetary Science division. Congress has just weeks ago restored a similar cut from the previous year; it was a tough budget to read.

That was almost a week ago. What are we doing about it?

An Easy Way to Write Congress
We've set up a new section on our website so you can easily write Congress and share your support for planetary science. We've set a goal of 25,000 letters to representatives around the country. A follow-up email makes it easy for you to call your representative and reinforce your message.

We've Reached Out to Our Members
All Planetary Society members have been alerted to this, and we've asked them to reach out to Congress (or to President Barack Obama if you live outside the United States). Some will receive physical petitions via snail-mail, which will take a little longer to send out.

Coordination with Other Scientific Organizations
We're in close contact with professional organizations like the AAS's Division for Planetary Science and the American Geophysical Union to make sure that our goals and messages reinforce each other.

Preparing Testimony to Congress
The Planetary Society is busy preparing testimony to submit to Congress in time for the congressional hearings on the NASA budget next week.

Lobbying Congress
The Planetary Society will be in Washington, D.C. in May to meet with legislators to talk about Planetary Science funding, as well as hold a special event on Capitol Hill to share the importance of this effective, affordable division within NASA.

Spreading the Word
We've asked our members and supporters to spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. We also held an immediate webcast about the budget, and are working on op-eds to submit to papers around the country and partnering with other new-media outlets.

The Goal
We're pushing for $1.5 billion for NASA's Planetary Science division, the amount it had in 2012. It's a reasonable sum and, according to analyses by the scientific community, enables a robust program that includes a mission to Europa.

What Happens Next
The next major events are the congressional committee hearings on NASA's budget in both the House and the Senate in the next few weeks. We will see the first response to the President's proposals for NASA there.

See other posts from April 2013


Or read more blog entries about: mission status, Planetary Society Political Advocacy, FY2014 NASA Budget


brennan62: 04/17/2013 05:54 CDT

I love Nasa but in an era of 17 trillion dollar debt which is expanding faster than the universe we need to make cuts. I could list all the justifications but this is a smart crowd so I just will list the most important one.......common sense.

Crawfish: 04/17/2013 06:06 CDT

2012 federal: spending B$3.5 deficit B$1.1 Right? 30% of spendings are borrowed money. Any NASA planetary cuts less than 30% is a victory! That is your standard, Casey, keep doing good work. The aim is an orderly retreat.

brennan62: 04/17/2013 11:19 CDT

just saying the national debt in 1 dollar for every mile would be over 3000 light years. We have to make hard choices or we will end with nothing for anything. I think NASA is a national priority as well as defense and taking care of those that cant care for themselves. How we do all that is up for debate but what is not debatable is we cant go on like this or we will end of like Greece

Casey Dreier: 04/18/2013 05:41 CDT

@Crawfish: If all federal agencies faced a 30% cut due to a suden re-orientation of the national budget to have no deficit next year, then yes, we'd be happy to have less than a 30% cut. But that's not what's happening here. NASA's Planetary Science program is facing a disproportionate cut compared to all other programs within the space agency, and just about every other program in the national government. The $300 million restoration we're advocating for is not the difference between deficit and surplus, and it doesn't require extra money to be added to NASA, but only money re-allocated within the agency. Also, no one -- and I mean no one -- is proposing a budget that will have no deficit next year. Both parties have plans for deficit reduction over the next 10 years, but they're both gradual. The math you use oversimplifies the problem. If it makes you feel any better, just say that NASA's (tiny) cut of the budgetary pie came from the $2.6 trillion that was paid for by revenues.

brennan62: 04/18/2013 07:17 CDT

I dont want this to degenerate into a green eye shade dollar/debt debate. In my view we are going to have to be creative in doing more with less, its not a choice,, really it isnt ,if we dont do it in an organized systemic way it will happen suddenly like what happened in cypress. To me the question boils down to marketing HP paid 6 million for the naming rights for the bronco stadium, how much would Apple pay for the naming rights to the Orion? That alone cant close the gap but that is the type of thinking I am talking about.., Apple HP samsung spends over a billion a year in advertising . Tacky maybe but when we have an astronautics standing on an asteroid he he says "the IPOD has landed" will you really care what it is called? I wont I will be in awe awaiting to learn what they find.

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