The Planetary Society cannot fully support the FY2015 NASA Budget Request. While there are some positive aspects, 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.
The Planetary Society congratulates NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the scientific team led by Dr. Steve Squyres for the unprecedented success of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity achieving 10 years of continuous operations on Mars.
The FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, now before the U.S. Congress, once again rejects cuts to NASA’s Planetary Science Division that were sought by the White House. The Planetary Society commends Congress for this action, and strongly encourages the White House to prioritize Planetary Science in its future budget requests commensurate with its strong public and legislative support. The Society supports the passage of this bill for its additional Planetary Science funding as well as its overall funding levels allocated for NASA.
CubeSats have made low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups. However, these tiny satellites lack propulsion. LightSail will demonstrate the viability of solar sailing for CubeSats.
Planetary Deep Drill is the first drill of its kind. Honeybee intends to fulfill one of the biggest needs for subsurface planetary exploration: lightweight, portable drills that pack enough punch to probe deep beneath planetary surfaces.
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