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Our Official Response to NASA's 2015 Budget Proposal

Posted by Casey Dreier

14-03-2014 2:06 CDT

Topics: FY2015 NASA Budget, Space Policy

After discussions with members of our board, Bill Nye, and other parts of our leadership, the Planetary Society has released its official response to the President's 2015 Budget proposal for NASA. I'll let you read the full thing, but here's the essence:

The Planetary Society cannot fully support the FY2015 NASA Budget Request. While there are some positive aspects—particularly the newfound openness to exploring Europa and the continued science operations of most high-priority planetary missions—the request imposes unacceptable cuts to the Science Mission Directorate that damage the immediate and long-term health of some of NASA's most successful programs, particularly planetary exploration. If this budget is passed unchanged, there will be fewer planetary missions in development by 2019 than at any point in the past few decades.


FY2015 will be another historic year for planetary exploration: the New Frontiers-class New Horizons mission will fly by Pluto; the Discovery-class Dawn mission will orbit Ceres, the asteroid belt's largest object; and the flagship-class Curiosity rover will reach the base of Mt. Sharp, a 5 km-tall Martian mountain. These are true feats of exploration, and all of them were initiated by the previous Presidential administration. There is still time for this administration to leave its own positive legacy.

But right now the Obama White House is bequeathing a deeply troubled future of planetary exploration to its successors. Its FY2015 budget does not preserve a healthy program. As the current slate of missions reach the end of their lives, there are few ready to take their place exploring the solar system. We urge Congress to once again reject these cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division, as well as to NASA's top-line and to the Science Mission Directorate. We urge Congress to, at the very minimum, preserve NASA's funding at FY14 levels and to restore planetary science to its historical average of $1.5 billion per year.

If you don't like what you see (we don't) make sure to tell your representatives how much you support planetary exploration and science at NASA. (Go here if you live outside the United States).

The Europa Clipper spacecraft concept

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Michael Carroll

The Europa Clipper spacecraft concept
The Clipper spacecraft flies over the surface of Europa in this artist's rendering. NASA is currently studying this reduced-cost mission which would use at least 48 flybys to explore the moon instead of entering into orbit.
See other posts from March 2014


Or read more blog entries about: FY2015 NASA Budget, Space Policy


Mark Z: 03/14/2014 09:54 CDT

Thank you George W. Boosh, probably the last science President The United States of America will ever have. At some point, it wouldn't hurt for a great many who are inspired by space exploration to not be afraid to see what they are seeing.

Mark Zambelli: 03/14/2014 10:55 CDT

I'm British so it is not my place to criticise the complicated decisions faced by US administrations but I can't help feeling saddened by what NASA faces in the upcoming years. The US have always adopted the concept of pushing the envelope to the betterment of mankind and I feel proud to be a member of the same species that landed on the moon (I was born during Apollo), journeyed to all the planets and now headed for the stars with four ambassadors. With the global economy in the state that it is maybe now would be a good time to pool all of our resources and follow in the spirit of the ISS; ESA, JAXA, NASA, the Russians, the Indian Space Agency and China all working together for a single purpose... the peaceful exploration of space and the Solar System united as one species. I hope the future gets brighter for our friends accross-the-pond and the US government regains that sense of direction that has inspired all of humanity.

Absar: 03/14/2014 01:10 CDT

I'm a Pakistani and probably that'd render my comment quite useless in context to the discussion but I simply wish to insist on the fact that no one would ever be able to minutely calculate how many minds have NASA inspired and motivated to pursue engineering and sciences by igniting an engine to a new world, by fueling an outer solar-system bound probe. Since my childhood I have moved with NASA in some sort of communion. From as long as I can recall, I have clippings from newspapers of space shuttles being launched into orbit, article pieces grazing magazines about NASA's achievements and so much else. It is a frontier that should work always be advanced, with at least one celestial object a year.

Cheri: 03/16/2014 01:06 CDT

This is what I sent to my Congressman - thank you for the figures at the end. Although when I was born having women work in a man’s profession wasn't quite accepted, the eighties did mark the era of change and brought with it the first woman astronaut. I have always been interested in science and I've always wanted to have a carrier that could change the world for the better. I was never distracted by the fact that I'm a woman pursuing a historically male role because during my childhood there were women publicly doing just that. The women of NASA proved the only thing that truly matters is ones tenacity and determination to achieve what they want. I don't honestly think that cutting back even more on NASA will only hamper our advancement in science and our understanding of outer space. I think it will also destroy some of our role models for young girls who may have become interested in science and/or engineering if only they had proper exposure or positive role models. I am truly saddened by the recent financial cuts to the funding of NASA and I perceive it as a blatant disregard of the scientific foundations that NASA has built in our nation. Please, I urge you to reject these cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division, as well as to NASA's top-line and to the Science Mission Directorate. At the very minimum, please preserve NASA's funding at FY14 levels and restore planetary science to its historical average of $1.5 billion per year. Thank you for your consideration.

Jay Putt: 03/17/2014 07:49 CDT

Is anyone thinking about how the problems we are having with Putin and Russia might affect our access to the the ISS? This does not seem to be the right time to cut NASA's budget when we may need all of our resources to preserve our access to space. It was a stupid idea to rely on the Russians and I am afraid we may now pay a terrible price for it.

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