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Planetary RadioDecember 7, 2018

Space Policy Edition: Canada's Uncertain Future in Space (with Kate Howells)

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On This Episode
Kate Howells
Kate Howells

National Canada Coordinator and Global Community Outreach Manager, The Planetary Society

Casey Profile Picture Thumbnail
Casey Dreier

Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser, The Planetary Society

Headshot of Mat Kaplan
Mat Kaplan

Planetary Radio Host and Producer

Canada was the third country in history to launch a satellite into space, but now lags in its space ambitions, capability, and spending. What happened? Kate Howells, who serves on the Canadian Space Advisory Board, joins the podcast to talk about the challenges facing Canada's future in space and how the nation needs to do a better job of communicating the benefits of space exploration to its citizens. Casey and Mat also look at the latest machinations of the U.S. Congress, which has yet to fund NASA for 2019 and is rapidly running out of time to do so.

Canadian Parliament Centre Block building

Saffron Block

Canadian Parliament Centre Block building
Empty Canadarm

Tim Peake / ESA / NASA

Empty Canadarm
The International Space Station's robotic Canadarm is empty after releasing the OA-4 Cygnus resupply vehicle.

Transcript

[Mat Kaplan]: Welcome back to the space policy edition of planetary radio. We're glad to have you for this monthly installment. The last one of 2018. I’m Mat Kaplan, the host of planetary radio coming to every week with the regular version of the show now back with my colleague, the chief advocate for The Planetary Society, Casey Dreier, welcome.

[Casey Dreier]: Hey Mat. Happy to be here again. It's always good to be in December mode starting to look back on 2018 now.

[Matt Kaplan]: Yes, and we're going to do a little bit of that in a moment. There have been some developments even though it's only been a couple of weeks since we were on. Before we do that though, why don't you introduce our colleague and special guest today, who's going to be joining us across the show?

[Casey Dreier]: Yes, we have a bonus guest and we're temporarily bumping her up to a special co-host guest today Kate Howells. Who is our national [00:01:00] coordinator for Canada and a card-carrying Canadian citizen, I believe, right? Hi Kate.

[Kate Howells]: Hi guys. It's great to be on the show. Thank you for having me.

[Mat Kaplan]: We're glad to have you. We’ll point out that Kate. She has at least two roles with the society. Most of us have at least two. She is also the global community outreach manager with responsibility for coordinating with our vast network and growing network of volunteers around the world, right Kate?

[Kate Howells]: Yes indeed and we're actually recording on International Volunteer day, which is a big day for me because I get to send special thanks and shouts out to our 4,500 plus volunteers around the world. So it's a great day for me, but I'm also happy to be here talking about the other hat that I wear with the society, which is my work in Canada.

[Mat Kaplan]: And I know you're going to have an extended conversation mostly with Casey about the Canadian space program and your activities up there and get your impression. But let's begin as we always do with the encouragement [00:02:00] to folks out there who are not yet members of The Planetary Society. It's a great time to join and if you are a member, it's a great time to make somebody else remember provide a membership as a gift you do that at planetary.org/membership And of course, we would love to have you on board as we have said many times, it is the support of our members that makes this program possible all a planetary radio all of our outreach activities and of course everything else that we do LightSail and those space policy and advocacy activities that Casey is such a key part of, and for that matter, it enables Kate to represent Canada and work with those 4500 volunteers all over the world. Planetary.org/membership We hope you'll consider it and become part of the organization today.

[Casey Dreier]: It does make a great holiday gift Mat, right?

[Mat Kaplan]: There is none better than finding The Planetary Society [00:03:00] under your tree.

{Casey Dreier]: Yeah, what's better than a gift of exploration to joy of exploration, and in fact, if you don't receive this you actually technically have a bad holiday season, I believe and we should emphasize because Kate is here representing Canada, that Canadians can also join The Planetary Society as can any person around the world, and I believe Kate, correct me if I'm wrong, that Canada is our second largest representation terms of membership.

[Kate Howells]: Yep, that's correct. And it is my personal goal to get our Canadian membership up to 10% of our total membership because Canada's population is about 10 percent of the U.S. population. So I think it should be reflected in our membership as well, but we're not quite there yet, so I do encourage more Canadians listening to this show to please join up.

[Mat Kaplan]: And there are a lot of Canadians listening to this show. About 30% of The Planetary Radio audience is outside the United States and Canada seems to jockey back and forth with the UK [00:04:00] and Australia for number two, listening to most of the shows, good on you up there.

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, and the UK and Australia were all part of this glorious Commonwealth. So we should all unite and get on board with The Planetary Society.

[Mat Kaplan]: I'm envious. I've always been envious of members of the Commonwealth. I wish that things have gone better in 1776 so that we could have claimed that status.

[Casey Dreier]: Why did something happen back then?

[Mat Kaplan]: I'll tell you about it later, Casey.

[Casey Dreier]: Okay.

[Mat Kaplan]: There's one of the thing I want to mention, maybe you are already a member, but you're looking to do more to support The Planetary Society, and this is a great time to do that. We have at planetary.org/planetaryfund It's a chance to go beyond membership and support the core Enterprises of the planetary society that reach across everything that we do. You don't have to be a member to [00:05:00] donate to the society. Although we would love for you to become a member first, and then if you feel like it, provide additional support, and this is a great time to do it because there is a 50,000 dollar match underway, and we would love to get all of that extra money from some terrific donors and we can only do that if other people step in at planetary.org/planetaryfund Okay commercials are done guys.

[Casey Dreier]: No, you mean opportunities. Opportunities.

[Mat Kaplan]: Thank you. Haha, Opportunities. The opportunities continue but the message for the moment is done. I suspect we'll come back to it. Before Casey you get to talking to Kate about Canada, yes, it has only been two weeks, but there's been some activity right in DC.

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah, so a couple of things have happened and we'll just talk about some of the U.S. Centric stuff here and Kate, please feel free to jump in with clarifications or additional commentary. I should add that Kate attended the George Washington University Space Policy [00:06:00] Institute in her past. So she does have a policy background as well. Something very as I'd say, maybe the most important thing at least in terms of NASA and short-term policy making sphere is that we are still trying to determine or, when I say we and when I say determine, I really mean Congress is struggling to set NASA's budget for the fiscal year 2019.

Notably, we are in fiscal year 2019 right now. We have been since October 1st. NASA and maybe half of the federal government is functionally operating on this stopgap extension of funding from last year. They do not have final Appropriations passed by Congress. That deadline was originally December 7th. That was when the government was going to run out of the ability to spend money on NASA and some other federal agencies Congress recently passed a short-term extension to that to December 21st. So we have a couple more weeks for Congress to really battle [00:07:00] it out over really it's not NASA's funding that's contentious here. It is the border wall and border security, obviously some highly partisan, highly charged political issues right there. NASA is unfortunately, along for the ride on this one. So we've been here a couple times before in the past Congress is really just pushing themselves up right to the deadline right before the Christmas break and when they break for Christmas this time, any legislation that has not been passed yet, even if it's been in the works, basically gets reset because there's a new Congress coming into town on January 3rd, 116th Congress. This is the consequence of this midterm election we just talked about and so if there's no budget by the 21st, two things can happen either the government shuts down right before Christmas break and that means a lot of federal employees basically get furloughed without pay over Christmas. Not the best political situation to be in, or congress could kick the can down the road, yet again, into the next Congress so [00:08:00] they could basically pass another short-term spending measure keeping NASA temporarily funded for another amount of time. So we really don't know what's going to happen yet. Obviously, we really want NASA to have a budget because of these new initiatives that we've talked about in the past particularly this like low earth orbit commercialization. We have this new opportunities for commercial payloads at the Moon. Not to mention really important stuff like moving forward with Mars sample return, being able to pursue these new missions in science particularly with the dart Mission being able to deflect an asteroid test. So we really need this budget, and of course NASA again is just along for the ride.

[Mat Kaplan]: Well two weeks doesn't seem like a lot of time to clear a log Jam, and then is that log jam going to continue when the house is taken over by democrats, but the Senate, and of course, the executive are still in the hands of Republicans.

[Casey Dreier]: I think overall the issues and the partisan agreement about [00:09:00] increasing spending is going to dissolve pretty quickly next Congress. As I've been saying before having a divided government actually promotes ideological division because each party wants to define itself against the other previously when we had total Republican control of the House, the Senate, and the Executive Branch, everyone likes to spend money when they're in power because they get all the blame or they or they get all the credit and so it's easy in a sense to for the Republicans to spend extra money, which they did, they also cut taxes. So, you know the whole kind of ideological stuff about the debt kind of disappeared when they were in power same thing happened under George W. Bush back in the early 2000s. Now that we have divided government, I predict that these issues around the debt or going to significantly increase in terms of the public debate. You've already had the White House say that it wants to cut it's spending by 5% on discretionary spending. You've seen the reassertion of the Budget Control Act will be coming next year, which technically will have across-the-board cuts and less certain spending [00:10:00] cuts are made. Congress has the option or the opportunity to just wave those yet again, which they’ve basically done every year since they passed that bill. So it'll be a bunch of headwinds against overall government spending in the next year. This is a completely different issue actually than this 2019 spending bill. So it's really just this complicated thing. Ideally Congress just deals with it. This is the lame duck session of Congress. A lot of people are not coming back next year, that changes some of the political calculus once you've already lost and so you don't have as much consequence necessarily for compromising, which tend to be a lot of political consequences, unfortunately in this country right now for compromising on issues like budget

[Mat Kaplan]: Well, in the words of the great Betty Davis fasten your seatbelts or keep them fastened, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah. It's not going to be pretty and so this is, maybe I'll just mention again, that this Planetary Society depends on individuals like you to exist and the more [00:11:00] donations and support and membership we have the better we can represent you in Washington DC and other parts of the world for global space policy. So I'll just maybe just put that out right now in the context of there's going to be a lot of work to do in the next couple of years.

[Mat Kaplan]: Hmm. Alright fortunately, there is good news from off world, because since we last spoke, we've got a new citizen. It has arrived on Mars and in just the last few days, we've got a spacecraft that has reached an asteroid, Asteroid Bennu, and that of course OSIRIS-REx. Let's start with that new arrival on Mars, the InSight lander, Casey. Which we were celebrating at Cal-Tech with a thousand other people jumping up and down when it set down safely. Ahead of us though, of course is the 2020 Rover which is going to be collecting samples and you've just written about that at planetary.org

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah, well this is a great opportunity when we're kind of basking in the afterglow of a successful [00:12:00] landing on Mars and we should just emphasize here, this is the eighth time NASA has successfully landed on Mars. No other country, or agency or anything, any other organization has successfully pulled that off that's worth just considering for a second. I watch the InSight landing and everyone was nervous, sure, but it just seemed to work like clockwork, right? It was just this beautiful example of the investments this country has made in developing its workforce and developing technological capability. This is the consequence of 20 years of unprecedented exploration of Mars. We are in a point, however, that it has been six years now since the last new start of a Mars mission. That was Mars 2020 and in 2012 is when they selected it or at least announced it. That is the longest break and the longest gap in new Mars missions in three to four decades. It's a really long time. It's an unprecedented situation [00:13:00] that we’re finding ourselves in for this generation. We need to really remind ourselves that things like InSight happen, successfully, because we have made that investment over the years, because that workforce is trained, because the expertise is there. That expertise doesn't just come out of nothing, right, doesn't spontaneously generate with the first time you go to Mars and you can see that NASA has struggled with this over the years to land successfully, other nations have struggled to land successfully. It is not something you can just create out of whole cloth. So we need the next step. The next step has been defined by the scientific community. The next step has been, you know, already kind of enshrined in the activities of the Mars 2020 Rover and that next step is sample return. Sample return has been the priority of the Mars community for decades the decadal survey done by the national academies stated that sample return is not just the most important mission but really the logical next step and really for the value, the money that you put in it will provide [00:14:00] the best value of science returned. So we have to pursue sample return. We have the taken the first step, Mars 2020 Rover will sample cache. It'll drive around core samples of the surface of Mars put them in little tubes drop them on the surface. And right now we have zero plans to get those, right, I just want to emphasize that. NASA has literally no official commitment to go get the samples that we're spending two and a half billion dollars to prepare right now. Those samples won't last forever. The communications infrastructure of our satellites around Mars will not last forever. In fact, they're all quite old. The situation is getting worse by the day, and so the longer we delay the nest step, which is the fetch rover and Mars ascent vehicle to launch back into orbit, the harder it's going to be to successfully pull that off not just in terms of technology, but the workforce sticking around, the communication satellites, everything. We have not secured that commitment yet. We have seen from the White House for 2019 [00:15:00] and investment of 50 million dollars to study the technology, to study the concept. That's an important step, but really this mission should have begun three, four years ago. Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator of Science at NASA, has stated that he wants to pursue a lien sample return trying to incorporate International partners and corporate commercial partners to try to lower the overall cost. ISA is studying this. 2019, they're going to really meet and see if they can commit to participating in such an endeavor. So there's things moving forward but I would say if we look for this next budget request from the White House in 2020, which comes out in roughly February of next year. If we do not see a new start proposal for sample return then we're really not seriously taking this issue. This is not a serious issue here and we're really undermining the overall stability and health of the Mars exploration program. So again InSight, and I wrote about this, InSight provides us the incredible outpouring of public engagement. [00:16:00] Millions of people watched the landing, it reminded everyone around the world of some of the exciting stuff NASA can do when it has the resources and commitment. And particularly Mars and it's the exciting aspect of landing on the surface of a new world seeing a Vista for the very first time. It's just you are there with that spacecraft. This can happen, wait, we have done this before, we can do it again, but right now policy-wise we are choosing to walk away from it. And so we need this commitment as soon as possible and that's what we're working on here at The Planetary Society.

[Mat Kaplan]: For more on this take a look at Casey's recent blog post. He put it up on a planetary.org on November 28th . It's titled “After the Success of InSight, It’s Time for NASA to Commit to Mars Sample Return.” Of course, the 2020 Rover that's a flagship Mission, InSight is not, and neither is OSIRIS-REx, which we want to give some kudos to, for its success so far that [00:17:00] asteroid sample return mission, different kind of sample return, not easy but a lot easier than bringing stuff back from Mars. Anything to say about OSIRIS-REx and that whole class of lesser missions, Casey?

[Casey Dreier}: Well, I say let's call them lesser missions, maybe cheaper missions, the New Frontiers classes. This is medium class mission for Planetary Exploration at Nasa, their cost capped at about a billion dollars. OSIRIS-REx was about as beautiful of an example of engineering, planning, and investment as you can get. It actually came in slightly under budget. It is pursuing new science; it’s going to bring back some amazing samples from Bennu. It's just how you do these types of missions and it's going to be really exciting and maybe, I don't have much to say about it, they just got there, the cameras the images from the cameras look beautiful. I was actually there to see the launch of OSIRIS-REx back in 2016, and I was fortunate enough to sit on top of the vehicle assembly [00:18:00] building with a small group of photographers and see that beautiful Atlas V takeoff as the sun was setting. It’s one of the most spectacular launches I've ever seen in my life. So I have a little special moment knowing that I saw the beginning of this mission, and now it is just getting to this strange alien world asteroid that can't even hold a spherical shape, It's so small. It has these giant bizarre boulders. An It’s just cool to see that and to know that this is the exact example of why we have these class of missions. High-quality science, focused budgeting, long-term commitment; unlike Flagship missions, you don't require a new start from Congress for every New Frontiers Mission. The program line is approved. And so as long as the program line has money, you can just select new missions as the funding is available. So that really simplifies some of this just like discover, you can move a little faster in these missions selection, so it's just really exciting.

[Kate Howells]: I'd also point out that OSIRIS-REx has international contributions and one of those comes from [00:19:00] Canada. We provided the instrument that's going to create the 3D map of Bennu’s surface, which will allow scientists to choose the sample site. So, Canada contributes little bits and pieces to a lot of NASA missions and we're generally quite proud of what we do contribute and so up here we're celebrating OSIRIS-REx as well because it's a pretty big moment for Canadian science.

[Mat Kaplan]: Yeah, and the use of that instrument has already begun as they begin to survey that little asteroid and figure out where they're going to sit down and collect that sample. You mentioned long-term commitments, Casey, it's not just building up to launch but right through the mission, of course because it's going to be 2023 before we see those samples of Bennu come back our way.

[Casey Dreier]: Yes, set your calendar. Make sure you have that in your planning for 2023. I'm sure they have probably the exact date and time pretty much nailed down because they’re going to snatch it out of the air, right, as it's coming down on a parachute or are they going to let it land I forget?

[Mat Kaplan]: You know, I can't remember if they're going to snatch it or if it's [00:20:00] coming down like Stardust did down in a capsule to the ground, but we'll look into that.

{Casey Dreier]: Hopefully not like Genesis did.

[Mat Kaplan]: Yeah, not like Genesis.

[Casey Dreier]: Holistically, ballistic reentry. So Mat, I want to bring up one more thing before we move into Canadian space policy here in Canadian space history. I realized we're recording this on the official state service for President George H.W. Bush. George H.W. Bush his big space policy contribution, It was kind of like this meaty, all of the above, really vast and ambitious human space flight program for NASA that not only would have the space station, but go to the moon and on to Mars, does this sound familiar but asking for real commitment from the White House to pursue this ambitious space policy and space exploration effort which then kind of famously leaked some early estimates of half a trillion dollar cost to do this and pretty much crashed and burned [00:21:00] in Congress. They functionally excised they with a scalpel almost excised any funding to start this program from NASA and in the very early 90s have George H.W. Bush. So, interesting just to remember looking back into George H.W. Bush's life that he was a very at least verbally strong supporter of the Space Program. He wanted to put some really interesting and ambitious plans together for NASA and it's a good example. There's a there's an interesting book called “Falling Back to Earth” by the guy who served on the National Space Council back then talking about the struggles of trying to push this through, and you know the president was going out trying to raise awareness and support and it's reminds us now how easy it is to replicate the Kennedy moment saying that we want to do something ambitious in space but to actually follow up with the Kennedy style budgets and political support and also just having the broad political agreement to pursue ambitious things particularly in human space flight that really has not been in the United States since, even I would say, [00:22:00] not even since the end of Apollo but even since the mid 60s.

[Mat Kaplan]: Yeah, that was a unique moment, unfortunately and it does remind me, Casey, that as we head into this period of perhaps even, increased partisanship in DC, it's going to be more important for voices to be heard on Capitol Hill, and you're still taking names aren't you for that visit in March?

[Casey Dreier]: Indeed. You can sign up at planetary.org/spaceadvocate we have about 85, I think at last check. I think we're capped around a hundred right now. So there's still some room and some time to sign up if you want to come join us. It's going to be great. We’re going to have the biggest cohort of Planetary Society members, ever, coming to DC. We're going to have a lot of meetings, we’re going to have really tight focused experience, it's going to be a lot of fun and you'll be really functionally making a difference in terms of representing, particularly to a lot of people in the new Congress if you're in their districts, that space is important and space has your [00:23:00] support in something that they should support as well.

[Mat Kaplan]: That's enough inside the beltway, I guess for now. Let's take it to the great white North and Kate, again, we're very happy to have you on the show.

[Kate Howells]: Thank you. It's always great for me to get opportunities to sort of bring Canadian space issues to the table in a larger discussion with the larger audience. We up here, our space community is quite small and we are all very much in agreement with one another at least, at the moment, and so we kind of tend to be preaching to the choir a lot of the time. So it's always good to get an opportunity to sort of bring the conversation to other new listeners.

[Casey Dreier]: And there's been quite a bit going on at least on the policy front and that's really what kind of sparked me to think about talking to you because I realized, who would be the best person to really represent this policy stuff that's happening in Canada it’s like, oh, yeah, I actually work with this person. Kate, so I immediately thought of you is to come onto the show. Before you really go into what's happening in Canada right now in space [00:24:00] policy. Why don't we actually just kind of quickly jump back and just hear a little bit about you first. How you kind of ended up working in the area of space policy in DC, and then also your current role and how you're participating in this actual discussion right now of advising the future of Canadian Space Program.

[Kate Howells] Hmm. I got involved in space policy in the first place in the U.S. I went to George Washington University for a master’s in science policy and they offered a focus in space policy which I jumped right into as a big space fanatic but this was, you know, a very DC oriented program and as a Canadian, I knew I wanted to be more involved in my own country, working in my own country. But while I was in DC, I got involved with The Planetary Society. I was lucky enough to meet the board of directors and got talking about what The Planetary Society might be able to do in Canada because we've always had a considerable membership in Canada and Canada has always been a [00:25:00] strong neighbor, strong collaborator with the U.S. in space and in many other areas so it kind of made sense to explore what the society might do in Canada. So they hired me on to begin that exploration and that was back in 2013. Over those years, I mean, I also work with volunteers and developing a youth education program with the society, but the Canada part of my job has mostly been really getting a sense of what are the policy challenges in Canada? What kind of contribution could an organization like the planetary Society make, and how would that actually work? Because the mechanisms for advocacy in Canada are different from how things work in the States. So over that time I've gotten more and more deeply involved with the Canadian space community, I was appointed last year to a newly formed advisory board to the federal government on space policy issues and that's really when things [00:26:00] started to take off as well with space policy in Canada. We are, as you mentioned, in an interesting time, so we'll get more into that later. But that's a bit of a background on where I'm coming from and how I got involved.

[Casey Dreier]: So let's talk about Canadian Space Agency a little bit, it formed, what 1990 is when it officially came together?

[Kate Howells]: Yes, so we've had a longer history in space than that, but our actual space agency formed in 1990. So it's pretty young compared to NASA or other space agencies around the world. Yeah, we have a long history in space. We were the third country to put a satellite in orbit, and that was in 1962. We've been partnering with the U.S. from then onward, I mean NASA rocket launched Alouette 1 that space craft that we put up in 1962, but now the Canadian Space Agency, I mean, it had its origins in sort of defense concerns much like NASA but has evolved to be the civil [00:27:00] space agency for the country. So it does very similar things to what NASA does, its you know, science, its exploration. It's also very concerned with issues that are directly relevant to Canada as a nation, specific needs that we have as a country. So it's not all about going out and exploring, it's also about understanding our own land mass, our own geography, our own climate, understanding sovereignty issues, tracking ships, that kind of thing as well as providing communication services to the country because we are a very, very large country geographically with a very small population and we have a lot of people in remote communities, especially in the North. The Canadian space agency is responsible for developing technologies and providing services that are relevant to Canadians. So it looks a bit different from what NASA does but otherwise, you know, it's a pretty standard space agency.

[Casey Dreier]: So, going back to Allouette 1 was that [00:28:00] a communication satellite that it launched?

[Kate Howells]: It was scientific, in nature, I believe. It was studying the ionosphere.

[Casey Dreier]: Okay, I was actually just thinking that same thing that Canada actually seems like it has a huge motivation to invest in space particularly for this communications and observation aspect because of exactly what you said, Canada's, what is that the second largest in terms of landmass, third largest in terms of land mass in the world?

[Kate Howells]: Second largest. Second only to Russia, and we have the longest shoreline of any country in the world. Yeah, it does, the nature of our country creates unique challenges and space is very well suited to meeting those challenges. So whether it is remote sensing, you know Earth observation or communications. These are technologies that are really relevant to the needs that Canada has a nation. So investing in space would make a lot of sense and we do but I think that the federal government has not necessarily recognized to what extent [00:29:00] we as a country rely on our space assets and to what extent you have to really strategically invest and plan for the future to be able to maintain the kind of assets that we rely on as a country.

[Casey Dreier]: So it's interesting that you say that and I think that's reflected in the budget of the Canadian Space Agency that we’ll maybe talk about in a second, but just going back I mean, It sounds like Canada came out really early with Alouette 1 and it's had a series of small satellite launches over that past. Did something shift or did something change? Why does the government have a hard time seeing space as a valuable investment for Canada?

[Kate Howells]: That's a good question, and I wished I had a confident answer because it is not clear to me and to many of us in the space community here why the government has been retreating from space and you know decreasing investment over time when it is not only a industry that we rely on for, like [00:30:00] we've said communications but as sovereignty as well, for our scientific community and for our remote communities, but it's also a profitable industry to invest in. I mean the return on investment economically is great. So there isn't a real clear reason why a country like Canada would not invest strongly in space. I think part of the issue that we've had as a country at least in the last decade or so, is that our space agency hasn't had sufficient budget to communicate to the public about why investment in space is important particularly the sort of less flashy, less sexy kinds of investments like Earth observation, you know, sending an astronaut into space is always going to be popular politically, but getting political support for the sort of nuts and bolts of space investment, I think is more difficult and I think because of that lack of public engagement and public interest there [00:31:00] isn't enough political justification for making significant investments in space. So I think that's part of the problem, but I think also because we have a long history of having a very pragmatic space program where we have invested in core competencies like robotics, like what you see with the Canadarm, our most famous investment, and with things like remote sensing and communications because we've invested in those historically to a great degree. We have the capabilities now and we rely on them, but I think that they are to an extent taken for granted where you know, they're already in place, and so as government is, you know, handed over through various leaders over the years, the new world leaders might not necessarily understand the investments that were made in the past to get us to the point now, where were comfortably relying on our space assets.

[Casey Dreier]: Do you think it has anything to do with the close relationship to the [00:32:00] United States? So does Canada inadvertently or vertently depend on U.S. space aspects, I mean like GPS or Landsat or some of these other monitoring systems that the data comes out for free or is accessible?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, I think our relationship with NASA and you know, the extent to which NASA and the US are leaders in space, probably does affect how we approach space as a nation. There are certainly things that NASA, the U.S. do that the whole world benefits from and can sit back and not contribute financially and still benefit from but there are other things too where we've been able to depend on NASA because we have a good relationship with the United States and there’s a certain amount of security there. So Canada, for example, does not have its own launch capability. We don't have rockets that can put things into orbit. We rely on the U.S. and Russia and European countries to launch our spacecraft and that's always [00:33:00] been fine. There is some concern I think in Canada right now that maybe we should prioritize developing a launch capability so that we don't have to rely on other countries, but we've been able to for a long time, so I think that definitely plays into it. I'd also say that, you know as I mentioned earlier with OSIRIS-Rex, Canada has often been able to contribute instruments to scientific missions that are led by NASA, or ISA, or others. That's been a good way for us to engage our science community without having to put up all the money to lead our own planetary science mission. Canada has never had an independent interplanetary mission. That's a little bit unusual for a country our size and with our sort of legacy in space., but I think it's because we've always been able to depend on some of the bigger players to give us space to contribute a little bit here and there, so that we can still have a space science program without really having to go in on it a hundred percent.

[Casey Dreier]: [00:34:00] It seems to me kind of this ironic consequence of focusing on cooperation, which is always pitched as a really important kind of practical, statecraft benefit of investing in space exploration, that by going so far into cooperation, maybe the local political argument then is that we actually don't need to invest in space that much because we can strategically put small amounts of money in these bigger programs and we don't have to do it ourselves. Do you think that's an accurate way of thinking about it or do you think competition be a better mindset to have in the Canadian space arena?

[Kate Howells]: Well, I think it depends for a country that is, you know, new to the space game, I think, cooperation is great. It's a way to get in. It's a way to start your program, but I think for Canada, I think we're a country that should be leading our own missions and I think we've become a bit complacent because we can we can put an instrument on OSIRIS-Rex, and then [00:35:00] the CSA is going to be celebrating OSIRIS-REx just as loudly as NASA is going to be because we can say, hey, we're part of this. So we don't in terms of the political benefit of doing exploration. I think that you may be able to get just as much out of it by participating rather than leading, especially if you don't have this sort of legacy of leadership that NASA has I think you, NASA is never going to be able to take a step back because the U.S. public wants to be a leader in space. That's very much part of this the sort of story of America and space. That's never really been part of Canada's story. So there's not necessarily that political motivation to go and become a leader, although I do think that it would be well received by the Canadian public.

[Casey Dreier]: This is really interesting kind of contrasting these different kind of, I don't know, you call them national, cultural norms or expectations, or self-identity and this idea of saying like would it resonate with the Canadian public to say, we need to be a leader in this. We can't take second best or [00:36:00] maybe that sounds good, but then when lay out the actual implications like, okay we need to quintuple our investment in space or something like that. Does that then no longer become important? What level do you see space fitting into the Canadian self-identity that resonates strongly?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah. I think it's never really going to be important to the Canadian public to be leading in space. Partly because it's never really going to happen we’re never going to overtake NASA. I think the public would really support an independent Mission because we do have national pride, you know, we want to be independent. We have a complicated relationship with the United States where we depend on you, but we also resent that dependence to a certain degree. So I think having an independent Mission would be would be well-received. But at the same time I think that the culture of Canada is perhaps better suited to the kind of pragmatic space program that we've had [00:37:00] in the past, you know being a leader in robotics has been really important to Canada space program, and that's I think something that Canadians are proud of to know that yeah, if you want to build the next space station, you're going to call on Canada to provide the robotics because we do that the best and we don't have to be flashy about it, you know, I think that there's a certain amount of humility in the Canadian culture that we don't need to be building our own space station. We just want to be really good at this one thing, and I think also being leaders in aspects of the space sector that are directly relevant and beneficial to our country and specifically to the people who are sort of left out a lot of the time from the conversations. This is specifically are people in northern communities, many of whom are indigenous to Canada and I think that serving those communities with our space program. That's the kind of thing that Canadians take pride in. I don't think that flashing [00:38:00] leadership, for lack of a better term, I don't think that that's really what we are all about. I mean, I'm sure there are going to be Canadians who disagree with me, but that's just my view on it.

[Casey Dreier]: It strikes me then that this new trend in space of small sats and CubeSats and not just that, but small launchers. The cost of access for these small missions could really change the game, I guess in Canada for more limited budget for more focus. You could do an independent mission, and I believe Canada has been doing that with these small sat missions. I saw a lot of them were launched in 2013 and some other ideas. I mean, for a couple million, dollars 10 million dollars, you could actually do a pretty interesting either science or Earth observation or something in space, right? Do you see that changing the discussion?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, absolutely and actually a recent program that I think is really cool, and that is I think something that is kind of unique to Canada is we've we have something called the Canadian CubeSat Project and that was funded by the federal government but going out and getting [00:39:00] each province and territory to build their own CubeSat that can do some kind of unique science mission. Because we have just a relatively small number of provinces and territories, it's possible to engage every single one of them and this is also a great way to showcase the relevance of CubeSat technologies and of space technologies overall to these different parts of the country that don't necessarily participate. Like, if you look at Canada’s space sector, it's really highly concentrated in mostly Southern Ontario, Quebec, a bit British Columbia, but it's really densely concentrated. So CubeSats are way to engage more of the Canadian public, get more investment going into companies across the country that otherwise might not always, you know, win their bids to get funding from the CSA for bigger projects, that kind of thing. So I do see CubeSats is really being relevant to Canada's future in space and you know smaller satellites overall for [00:40:00] sure.

[Casey Dreier]: I'm curious whether efforts like this, CubeSats, the fact that there is yet another Canadian astronaut who's just moved into the International Space Station, do these provide inspiration for Canadians particularly young people I'm thinking of sort of STEM or STEAM efforts in Canada?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, absolutely. So educational outreach in Canada has been Limited in the last decade, or more specifically in the last 7 years, because the actual education and outreach budget of the Canadian Space Agency was eliminated in 2011. So, we've had a hard time conducting Outreach because there is this very, I mean the basic communications department of the CSA handles all the educational outreach now. You don't have really major nationwide outreach campaigns or education or STEM campaigns, but you can sort of springboard off of these missions that [00:41:00] already are happening to do educational outreach. So, we saw that done by Chris Hadfield our last Canadian on the international space station, he did incredible educational outreach work, engaging classrooms, engaging the general public, and a lot of that was coordinated by the Canadian Space Agency's communications department rather than a specific, you know, education department. It was also done in collaboration with organizations like Let's Talk Science that do STEM outreach across the country and I think what we're seeing now in terms of STEM in Canada is a lot of players, other than the federal government, coming to the table to try to tap into what space can offer. So, whether it's Chris Hadfield on the ISS, or now David Saint-Jacques on the ISS, our latest astronaut just launched two days ago, or missions like OSIRIS-REx. There are organizations across Canada that are using what's happening in space to try to [00:42:00] inspire and educate our nation's young people. There are also some really great initiatives like the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge that engage students at the post-secondary level to work on designing a satellite and it's a competition to see which design is best and it involves a lot of, the team's themselves have to do public outreach, have to engage their communities that's part of the competition, but it's also a great way for students to actually develop these kind of skills. So, there are a lot of educational activities going on in Canada that's definitely really important to the space community and I've been encouraged to see that even though federal funding has been extremely limited, there still are a lot of activities going on to try to connect young people to space.

[Casey Dreier]: So, let's actually talk about the funding issue and let's talk about, I mean, maybe over all just, quantify the Canadian Space Agency's budget and let's just use NASA as the comparison, I don't [00:43:00] have the exact number, but right now the Canadian Space Agency's budgets around 300 million dollars a year, is that accurate?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, so we have what's called the A-Base funding which is sort of this basic block that every year the CSA can draw on, and then we have additional funding for special projects. So, things like our Radar SAT Constellation Mission, which is one of the big things that's been in development, which is an earth observation mission of a constellation of three satellites, something like that, this kind of this extra project get stacked on top of our A-Base funding has been basically around 260 million since 2014, prior to that it was 300 million, so it's gone down and it hasn't grown with inflation over these years. So, it's essentially shrinking year by year as inflation happens. It's teeny tiny compared to the multibillion dollar budget of NASA, the CSA gets basically nothing. We do quite a lot with [00:44:00] that, I mean, especially considering how pragmatic the space program is and how focused in on, you know, core technologies, core competencies, but still it's peanuts compared to what the U.S. gets and actually compared to a lot of other nations. I think we've gone from being in the top 10 nations to somewhere low in the top 20.

[Casey Dreier]: In terms of the amount of money you spend on space compared to your GDP, Canada has dropped…

[Kate Howells]: Yes.

[Casey Dreier]: …into the bottom of the list of 20 from, it was in the top...

[Kate Howells]: Yes.

[Casey Dreier]: …five or ten for a while. And so just to put that into comparison that 300, 260 million base, we're comparing to, at NASA’s, right, last year was 20 point seven billion, and then, I mean that's smaller than, you know, NASA's Heliophysics Division, which is the smallest science division that was funded at 700 million dollars in US, and there's a exchanged difference right now about, add 25 percent difference to that. So, do you want to give us, maybe, this 2 minute overview of [00:45:00] just kind of the broad national political trends that led to this in the last 10-15 years? You mentioned this run 2011 when they eliminated the funding for the outreach and education department, that this was part of some broader conservative government initiative that really hammered the Canadian space budget?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, so the sort of political reasons behind this are somewhat obscure to the outside Observer, but it does seem that the conservative government which helped power for about a decade did not see space as something worth significantly investing in and so cut it wherever possible. Education is one of those things that is an easy cut when you're looking at an overall space program so that was one of the first cuts, but I think more than budgets being slashed through political decisions, I think what we've seen in Canada is budgets atrophying through political [00:46:00] neglect. So, space has not been seen as a significant part of our country's activities internationally, it has not been seen as something that we take very seriously on a federal political level, because it hasn't really ever been showcased as something worth really going a hundred percent in on, it has just been ignored and has been seen to like be fine where it is and just leave it where it is, that atrophy I think has been what's really been problematic as opposed to big sweeping cuts. And you see this, it's reflected in Canada’s space industry where companies are shutting down, or being sold to foreign buyers, are being downsized significantly, you see engineers and scientists alike moving out of Canada to go find work elsewhere, and it's this sort of slow atrophy that now has Canada basically at a point where, I think the Canadian space community sees us [00:47:00] as being at this tipping point where either the government realizes the situation and increases investment significantly and develops a strategy, because this is one of the things that's been missing, is like a long-term policy so that people in industry and academia alike, and international partners, can look forward and see where is Canada going in space, what can we anticipate in the coming years, because without that companies are I think on the brink of moving away even faster than they have been, because there's no predictability in what's going to happen in Canada in the coming years. There's very limited funding, at the moment, there's no indication that funding is going to increase, so if you're a company looking to start building satellites, you're not going to do it in Canada, you're going to go do it in the U.S., or in Europe, or elsewhere. And likewise, if you’re a person going through your PhD looking to do space science research of some kind, you're not going [00:48:00] to make plans to do that in Canada either because there just is not the funding to support a really thriving academic community.

[Casey Dreier]: There's actually a perfect opportunity than, to bring up what you're serving on right now the space advisory board. When was the last time Canada had a future, or strategic framework, or a strategic direction in space, and are there any big projects that Canada is working on in space right now? And if not, is this what you're trying to do on this advisory board?

[Kate Howells]: Yes, so Canada hasn't had an actual space policy in an extremely long time. The last thing that we had was the 2014 Space Policy Framework, but that was really just a regurgitation of, sort of talking points from the 2003 National Space Strategies.

[Casey Dreier]: I read that and it actually didn't really say all that much in preparation for…

[Kate Howells]: Yeah.

[Casey Dreier]: …our talk today, it was just kind of a lot of platitudes and that was about it.

[Kate Howells]: Yes. It's sort of, theoretically Canada should [00:49:00] be doing these things in space, but it's not a commitment to doing anything and there's no budget attached to it. I mean, the 2003, sorry, the 2014 Space Policy Framework came at the same time as a reduction in Canada's base budget from 300 million to 260 million. So, it's, you know, we're putting out this new policy-ish document but at the same time lowering the budget. So, there hasn't been a real solid plan with money attached to it. So, right now what the Canadian space community is calling for is the development of a National Space strategy, so whether that takes the form of a strategy framework document or an actual policy document that will outline exactly what's going to happen in the coming years, in any case we really are demanding some kind of indication of what Canada’s plans are for the future, so my role with the space [00:50:00] advisory board is very much tied in with that. In 2015 the liberal government, which was elected back then, announced that they wanted to re-establish a space advisory board federally, which is something that used to exist in the past, but had not really been active in a long time. So, they called out to the space community for people to apply. I wound up being a late addition to the space advisory board about a year ago now. The board was tasked with reaching out to the space community to space stakeholders whether industry academia government, whatever, to understand what are the challenges that people are facing, what do people perceive the needs of the Canadian space sector to be, and what kind of recommendations would we make to the government as a community for how to move forward with space? So, that was one of the first things that the space advisory board did, was all of these public consultations, and then synthesized all of that information into a set of [00:51:00] recommendations that were delivered to the ministry that is responsible for space so, It's the Ministry of Innovation Science and Economic Development, the Canadian Space Agency lives within that Ministry. We delivered a set of recommendations. The very first most important one was that Canada needs to see space as a strategic national asset. That means that we recognize that space is relevant to the whole of government, it's not jut the ministry that the CSA lives within, its agriculture, its defense, very widespread, and recognizing that it's important for Canada to have a strong space industry so that we can support ourselves in space and not have to go and outsource everything. We don't want to have to buy all of our satellites, whether it's a hardware or just the services, from other countries, we want to have our own space capabilities and that requires having a strong space industry. So, that was sort of our top recommendation. [00:52:00] The minister of Innovation Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, took all of our recommendations and put together a proposal to develop a space strategy in line with the recommendations of the space advisory board that would require approval from the prime minister's office and the Ministry of Finance. For that was submitted around this time last year, so during last year's federal budget process and when the budget came out in February, we did not see any indication of space strategy, of a new space policy, of space being seen as a national strategic asset, any of that, so now we're at this where we've kind of come back around to say, okay what went wrong, what can be done, you know, how can we as a space advisory Board help, and a big part of what we've been doing since then is continuing to provide advice to the minister and his staff not only on what we think should [00:53:00] be in the space strategy and how that strategy might be formulated, but also how to get public buy-in and political buy-in on that strategy. It's interesting that you mentioned George H.W. Bush, because I think that we have faced very much the same problem that he faced when he proposed that, you know, really comprehensive and logical space strategy. It was just too big, and presenting it all at once scared off the, you know, the holders of the purse strings in government and I think we saw the same thing this time last year, where the space strategy for Canada, which would have to be long-term in nature, would necessarily have to be expensive in that long-term, like if you're pitching a 10, 20 year plan, the dollar value assigned to that is going to be scary to someone like a minister of finance, especially when there is not a clear political rationale for doing this. So, this is kind of the issue that we're up [00:54:00] against right now, this is also, this budget that's being prepared right now in Canada, is an election budget, so we have a government that's looking to get reelected, so they want to be very pragmatic in the budget they put forward, because they don't want to catch a bunch of flak from Canadians who say they're overspending and space is one of those areas that I think they're afraid the people are going to see as wasteful spending. Although, we all know that that's not true.

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah, they're not counting the space voter.

[Kate Howells]: Exactly. Exactly. And I'll just say that, I mean if this problem is reinforced by the inability of the Canadian Space Agency to conduct widespread and effective educational outreach, you know, when we don't have money to talk to the Canadian public about why space is important, it makes it less likely that we'll be able to get public buy-in for further space funding, so it's kind of this vicious cycle of [00:55:00] lack of awareness, lack of support, lack of budget, lack of communications, just going around and around.

[Casey Dreier]: So, if you're Canadian, what can you do about this right now?

[Kate Howells]: Right now there's actually an electronic petition that has been initiated by the space community and has been submitted to parliament, so Canadians can sign this petition. It's asking government to develop and fund and implement international space strategy. We're going to be sharing, if this hasn't happened by the time this episode comes out, it'll be very soon, we're going to be sharing ePetition with our members. There's also another campaign specifically encouraging Canada to participate in the Deep Space Gateway program, because this is really going to determine whether we have an astronaut program in the future, whether we have, you know, whether there's another Canadarm down the line or whether we are really stepping back from exploration, so [00:56:00] this campaign is called Don't Let Go Canada and it is specifically encouraging the federal government to invest in, or to make a commitment to investing a contribution to the Deep Space Gateway program, so that's ongoing as well. And Canadians can join The Planetary Society, there's never been a better time for Canadians to join us, because really this is one of the most critical moments in space advocacy in Canada.

[Casey Dreier]: yeah, we’ll put the links to both of those on the show page here so people can use those and I encourage people, Canadians, to really step up and let your representatives and government know about this, that this is an important thing and maybe just to kind of start to wrap up here you raise this as an issue, but it sounds like the Lunar Gateway, this potential U.S. space station around the moon, is that really the only major project that Canada could engage with, with the U.S. going forward in terms of the level of the International Space Station?

[Kate Howells]: Probably not, I mean any [00:57:00] future science or exploration mission is going to have room for Canadian contributions, like what we've seen with OSIRIS-REx and so many others. But yeah, the Lunar Gateway is really the big one on the horizon in terms of Canada's future in space, I mean the reason that we've been able to have an astronaut program is because we contributed robotics to the space shuttle and to the International Space Station, if we hadn't made these contributions, we wouldn't be granted space for astronauts to fly on the shuttle or on the ISS. So, for Canada to have an astronaut program in the future, we have to contribute to the Lunar Gateway. The important caveat is that committing to participating in the Gateway is not sufficient for Canada. This is one of the big things that the space advisory board and the space community overall is, trying to communicate to government right now, is making a big commitment to [00:58:00] Gateway is great and is necessary, but it's really important as well to have a balanced portfolio of missions and projects and programs to have a policy in place that is responsive to the rapid pace of change of the space industry, so like the US has done with sort of relaxing federal regulations for launch and reentry, Canada needs to make sure that we have a nimble policy framework as well so that our space sector can grow and thrive, and we need to have a long-term plan so that industry and academia can know what's coming and plan accordingly and invest accordingly. We really are concerned that the government might make, you know, a big contribution to Gateway and then just say, okay, we've solved all of the problems of the Canadian space sector by doing this one thing, but that's really not going to be sufficient, so that's, I think, an important message [00:59:00] to drive home.

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah, I think it's really important too, or really just a good reminder of the role of policy here doesn't just impact whether the government spends money, but what we've been talking about, and what you've really highlighted to this conversation, is that there's this broader commercial and industrial sector in Canada that is setting its own expectations and investments based on government policy and so absent smart policy and that, It's not just that the Canadian Space or Canadian government isn't spending money, you’re really having long-term impact to the industrial and workforce and scientific base in Canada, based on these decisions.

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, I mean one thing that we heard in the space advisory boards public consultations was that, and I'm not an expert in this specifically, but the Canadian policy structure is not very hospitable to entrepreneurship in the space sector and that's why you see all kinds of amazing startups in the U.S., but you don't see that as much in Canada. If [01:00:00] you want to start a space startup, it's better to do it in the U.S. if you possibly can, and this is one of the things that can be addressed through policy changes, this doesn't have to require substantial investment, this is something that can be done just in restructuring how policy functions in Canada and I think that's one of the things that we've also tried to communicate to government is, not everything that were asking for requires, you know, a big line item on the budget. A lot of it is just adapting how Canada approaches our space sector to the sort of modern realities of how space works, and a big part of that is that things change rapidly things are international and you have to have policies that reflect that.

[Casey Dreier]: So, Kate, just to wrap up here, do you feel optimistic or uncertain about this future? How's your emotional state kind of it given all of these challenges that Canadian space is facing right now?

[Kate Howells]: Honestly, it [01:01:00] changes day to day depending on who I'm talking to. I would say overall, I'm optimistic. Canada cannot give up our space capabilities all together. I don't think it's ever going to happen that we let our sector completely atrophy and that we have to rely on International providers for all of the things that we rely on for space. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we're going to, I'm optimistic that we're going to see an investment in the Deep Space or Lunar Gateway Program. I think, where I'm more concerned is that our scientific community is going to continue to suffer because there are not opportunities for Canadian scientists to do space research as much as there should be for a country our size, I think that that's the community that's in slightly more peril, but I would say that I, if I take a long enough term view, broad enough look at the future, I become more optimistic for the, you know, the next 5-10 years, I am concerned, and [01:02:00] especially, you know, I've encountered a lot of really brilliant young people in Canada who are in school still, like it undergrad or grad programs or who are early in their careers, and I see a lot of them leaving Canada and that is what is discouraging to me. I think we have a pretty significant brain drain going on right now. I think that that's what I'm more worried about and I really hope that the government does see the sort of state that we're in and the steps that need to be taken to reverse the damage that's already been done and set us up to have a more thriving space community in the future. So, cautiously optimistic with occasional moments of pessimism. I think…

[Casey Dreier]: It sounds very familiar emotional state for me.

[Kate Howells}: …this is the life you get to live when you get too involved in any kind of policy world, I think, is frustration, optimism, pessimism, a whole whirlwind of emotions.

[Casey Dreier]: Yeah, it's just ride that roller coaster. It makes life interesting. [01:03:00] Thanks for joining us on the show. I hope you come back and let us know what happens next year.

[Kate Howell]: I absolutely will and thanks so much for having me. It's been a real pleasure.

[Mat Kaplan]: It's been fascinating. Kate, I want to ask you, we will put links on the show page that people can reach from planetary.org or better yet planetary.org/radio Do you know how people can learn more about the Don't Let Go Canada Campaign off the top of your head?

[Kate Howells]: Yeah, I believe the URL is dontletgocanada.ca so you can head there. Yeah, please do look at the links on the show page because the petition to the House of Commons that I mentioned earlier, that's just as important as the Don't Let Go Canada Campaign. So if you want to be a space advocate in Canada, check out those links and do what you can to contribute to making our future in space a little bit brighter.

[Mat Kaplan]: And one other question that has more to do with your other work for The Planetary Society as our Global community outreach manager. There is a [01:04:00] program that you and another colleague of ours, Whitney Pratz have put together for teachers. Do you want to say anything about that?

[Kate Howells]: Sure, Yeah. We haven't really formally announced this yet, but this is maybe a sneak peek. We are developing a youth education program. So this is looking to connect kids in school with space to help encourage not only an interest in space, but also an interest in going into the kind of careers that contribute to space exploration. So that includes, of course, science and engineering technology, math, those kind of classic STEM fields, but also business, law, policy, design. All the creative pursuits that contribute to making space exploration happen. We really want to just Inspire kids to become part of the global space community, and it's just an early pilot stages were working on one project specifically, but you can learn more in [01:05:00] the future when we are finally ready to announce it. But yeah, definitely, The Planetary Society is looking to get more involved in grooming the next generation of explorers, and that's pretty exciting.

[Mat Kaplan]: Another reason to keep an eye on planetary.org Thanks again. Casey, I'm glad we have Kate as a colleague.

[Casey Dreier]: Absolutely.

[Kate Howells:] Thank you.

[Casey Dreier]: All right Kate. Well, thank you again for joining us as the National Coordinator for Canada for The Planetary Society, Kate Howells, and we will certainly be talking to you again to see what happens as we go forward in the future of Canadian space.

[Kate Howells]: Absolutely. Hopefully I'll have good news to report next time.

[Casey Dreier]: Well, only if our members in Canada step up and talk to their representatives in government and sign that Don't Let Go Canada Campaign.

[Kate Howells]: And join The Planetary Society.

[Casey Dreier]: And Join The Planetary Society. Of course, well that goes without saying.

{Mat Kaplan]: planetary.org/membership We’ll say it and we'll say it over and over, planetary.org/membership and that other campaign. I mean, we’ll always be looking for new members, [01:06:00] but the planetary fund at planetary.org/planetaryfund and that $50,000 match which we hope to realize before the end of the year. So, please join us, as advocates for space, as you've heard all over the world including, in Canada under the able leadership of Kate Howells. Casey, we’ll be getting together, again if my calendar is correct, on Friday, January 4th for the next monthly space policy edition

[Casey Dreier]: Indeed we will. The new year. So this is the last of 2018. Thank you all for listening this year, and we will certainly be planning a great year ahead of us. I've already running into too many people I want to talk to at this rate of one per month. So it's going to be a great year of shows.

[Mat Kaplan]: I'm looking forward to it as well and pretty soon our fourth anniversary Space Policy Editio. That’s Casey Dreier. He is the Chief Advocate for The Planetary Society, working in our efforts regarding space policy and advocacy mostly in [01:07:00] Washington DC. But with concern for advancing space exploration around the world. I’m Mat Kaplan. I am the host of Planetary Radio. Hope you will join us for the weekly show, this week, if you're hearing this early on. That show features the great success of InSight and the even more recent success of OSIRIS-REx, which we congratulate both of those teams on the tremendous achievements that they have already seen and hopefully we'll be continuing as those missions continue. That's also at planetary.org planetary.org/radio and look forward to talking to you all again on the first Friday in January for the next Space Policy Edition of Planetary Radio. Have a great set of holidays and a great month.

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Listen more: Explaining Policy, Space Policy, human spaceflight, International Space Station

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