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President Obama Highlights Planetary Science Triumphs

But 2016 budget cuts the program by nearly $80 million

Posted by Casey Dreier

19-10-2015 19:12 CDT

Topics: Space Policy, FY2016 NASA Budget

On Monday night, President Obama addressed a crowd of science enthusiasts gathered on the White House lawn for their Astronomy Night event. The President talked about the importance of science and the excitement of the next great discovery, which is a deeply important topic and worth continued investment by the nation. He also called out several recent achievements by NASA that caught my ear:

These three discoveries—using data from NASA's Kepler, New Horizons, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, respectively—were all paid for by NASA's Planetary Science Division (Kepler is now operated by the Astrophysics Division).

The President's 2016 budget proposed to cut NASA's Planetary Science Division by $78 million from last year. This isn't an aberration. Since 2012, the White House has repeated attempted to slash Planetary Science funding at NASA—delaying or cancelling the very types of missions the President highlighted today. Hopefully this means 2017 will see something better.

See other posts from October 2015


Or read more blog entries about: Space Policy, FY2016 NASA Budget


Stephen: 10/20/2015 02:15 CDT

Is this the same US president whose administration has just proposed giving ZERO dollars for two existing planetary science projects, the Mars rover Opportunity and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter? Clearly the president's enthusiasm for planetary science has its limits.

StupendousMan: 10/20/2015 02:10 CDT

> we’ve discovered the first Earth-sized planet > orbiting a star in a distant galaxy I wasn't aware that Kepler had made any measurements of planets orbiting stars in other galaxies. Did the president (and the author of this entry) mean "the Milky Way?"

George: 10/20/2015 02:40 CDT

I agree with Stephen's comment. It is so discouraging that the Planetary Society seems so driven to associate itself with this President (a selfie at every opportunity!) when he obviously doesn't care. A plea from a former member -- how about getting someone serious about advancing the cause to attend these forums rather than those who seek self-publicity? (In other words, Casey Dreier for CEO!!)

Brian Schmidt: 10/21/2015 02:29 CDT

Stupendous is correct to be skeptical. Kepler only looked at a small part of our galaxy. Whoever was the source of POTUS' info probably meant "orbiting a star in a distant PART OF THE galaxy" but some wording got lost. Even that modification is somewhat debatable, although it is true that Kepler generally looks to more distant stars than other planet detection methods.

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