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Capitol Hill Forum: NASA at a Turning Point


Mat Kaplan

On November 3, 2011, the Planetary Society and the Mars Society are co-sponsoring a Capitol Hill forum titled “NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Up Shop?” to cast light on decisions being made today that may well darken the future of space exploration.

The planetary exploration program is in grave danger; in its FY 2012 budget, the Office of Management and Budget has effectively terminated support for future missions. The space astronomy program may see the Kepler telescope turned off in mid-mission, and the James Webb Space Telescope has been targeted for cancellation by the House of Representatives.

No one denies that fiscal realities are forcing difficult choices. Congress and the Administration must try to balance the demands of today with visions of what space exploration can achieve in the future.

The key will be in making wise choices that preserve future space accomplishments, advance humanity’s exploration of the solar system, and push back the boundaries of the known universe.

The Planetary Society and the Mars Society have assembled a stellar panel of space experts to consider the choices and discuss the promises and possibilities of NASA’s science and exploration programs, what will be lost if solidly planned missions are allowed wither, and what opportunities should be seized, even in these hard fiscal times.

The speakers will be:

  • Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society
  • Professor Jim Bell, President of the Planetary Society
  • Professor Scott Hubbard, former Director NASA Ames Research Center
  • Dr. Heidi Hammel, Executive VP, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

The forum will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2011, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, in room B 338 of the Rayburn Office Building, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street, Washington, D.C. Boxed lunches will be provided.

If you would like to attend this event, please contact Linda Wong at the Planetary Society, or 626-793-5100.

About the Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a long time member of the Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.

The Planetary Society
85 South Grand
Pasadena, CA 91105 USA
Voice: (626) 793-5100
Fax: (626) 793-5528


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