The Politics of Space
with Casey Dreier
Space exploration doesn't just happen—it is made through the decisions of government, budgets, policy documents, and by individuals and industries. It reflects the needs and realities of politics, and understanding how, where, and why these decisions get made are crucial to influencing them. Space exploration is for all of us, and unless all of us know the process, it will inevitably be driven by the very few. Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society's Director of Advocacy, writes this blog.
NASA under a Trump Administration will be hard times for Earth Science, and human spaceflight to the Moon will likely get renewed focus. However, NASA won't go anywhere if massive cuts to spending are enacted as promised.
The new six-part miniseries, MARS, premieres tonight on the National Geographic channel. Perhaps it can help influence the incoming administration to continue NASA's Journey to Mars.
SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.
New scientific findings add to the evidence that Europa is spouting its liquid ocean into space. NASA has a mission to Europa in the works, but it wouldn't launch for at least a decade. Congress can make it faster, but it all depends on whether they can pass a budget this year.
Commerce, Justice, and Science—the House of Representatives’ subcommittee that oversees NASA spending—just released details on how they would fund the space agency in 2017. Overall, the news for the space program is very good.
Lockheed Martin proposed a system to send humans to orbit Mars in the year 2028—a concept that shares many core values with The Planetary Society's report, Humans Orbiting Mars, we released last year.
The Senate has released its draft of NASA's 2017 budget which, despite increasing NASA's top-line by $300 million, would cut $270 million from the Planetary Science Division. Here's why we shouldn't worry—yet.