Pasadena, CA (January 24, 2019) — The Planetary Society, the world’s largest independent space interest organization, issued the following statements opposing the partial government shutdown:
“The public sector and contractor workforce that enables the United States’ cutting-edge efforts in space exploration is suffering from layoffs, furloughs, and missed paychecks. At this point in the shutdown, negative long term consequences are inevitable. But those can be mitigated the sooner we put the nation’s space and science agencies back to work.
Absent immediate action, there will be a long-term impact in the nation’s science agencies' ability to attract top talent. At NASA there is the potential for expensive mission delays and the loss of international prestige. The shutdown is a needless disruption to the nation’s space program—a disruption that is undermining efforts to implement the President’s directive to return humans to the Moon and then to Mars. The Planetary Society encourages the White House and Congress to put NASA and other federal science agencies back to work while they continue to negotiate over unrelated political issues.
There is no significant political debate regarding the value of NASA and the public sector scientific and engineering workforce. Congress has already reached a compromise for funding NASA and other science agencies in FY 2019. This bill should be passed immediately to put the nation’s talented scientific and engineer workforce back to work to implement the President’s space agenda along with that of the U.S. Congress.”
“I encourage everyone to write to their congressional representatives to remind them that NASA is unique. While other space agencies continue to accomplish remarkable things in space, no other organization on Earth can do what NASA does. The government shutdown affects a huge fraction of our technical and scientific workforce. We need to get these people back to work. Otherwise, investments in existing and future missions will be wasted, and the U.S. will fall behind other spacefaring nations.”
The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, 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 longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.