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Planetary Science Is Cheap! Submit Your Entry

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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—or about 1/25 of a penny in every tax dollar.

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.

$1.5 billion per year isn't much in the scheme of public spending. Help us make the comparison. Submit your entry below telling us how affordable planetary exploration is by giving this number context.

Even though this number is small, Planetary Science faces a 21% cut this year. Let's not punish success at NASA, not after the astounding landing of Curiosity on Mars. Let's maintain funding at $1.5 billion a year so we can continue to explore.

Need some ideas? Here are some examples to get you started:

  • 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]

Can you do better? Tell us! If we select your entry, you will be entered in a random drawing to receive a signed, frame-ready print of our Bill Nye, The Planetary Guy origin poster (5 total winners), and your entry will be included in our upcoming public outreach online project.

Make sure that your entry includes a reliable source and references the number 1.5 billion. Winners will be announced March 1st.

We apologize, but the selected Survey is currently unavailable.

Quick rules:

  • 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.
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