The Planetary Society's political advocacy program educates and encourages policymakers to invest in space science and exploration. It enables and requires the participation of tens of thousands of Planetary Society members and supporters who take civic action in support of space.
Advocacy work is the complementary, active implementation of The Planetary Society's Space Policy Program.
Our Advocacy Goals
Defend the planet from near-Earth objects
Read our Policy & Advocacy Principles
Explore more worlds with humans and robots
Prioritize the search for life in the universe
Current Advocacy Priorities
While The Society's overall goals are outlined by its policy principles, the organization is reactive to and focused on the specific political situation faced by NASA each year. The following items are the organizational priorities for the calendar year 2020.
For NASA's fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget:
- Increase the Planetary Defense Program budget by $46 million to accelerate the NEO Survellience Mission toward a 2025 launch date.
- Prevent cuts to MSL Curiosity and Mars Odyssey's operating budgets by restoring $28.2 million to the Mars Exploration Program.
- Restore funding to the Roman Space Telescope to keep it on track for a mid-2020s launch.
- NASA budget at $26.2 billion in order to support additional science priorities and maintain pace of Project Artemis.
For NASA Authorization Legislation:
- Support Sec. 303 of the Senate Authorization bill and in particular the statement on technosignatures:
“(4) TECHNOSIGNATURES.—In carrying out the program under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall support activities to search for and analyze technosignatures.”
- Support authorization of NEO Surveillance Mission for 2025 (Sec. 309 in S. 2800 or Sec. 335 of H.R. 5666). Prefer the Senate version:
“The Administrator shall—(A) develop and, not later than September 30, 2025, launch a space-based infrared survey telescope that is capable of detecting near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter, with preference given to planetary missions selected by the Administrator as of the date of the enactment of this Act to pursue concept design studies relating to the development of a space-based infrared survey telescope”
- Provide NASA with flexibility in selecting the launch vehicle for the Europa Clipper (Sec. 334 of H.R. 5666)
- Stronger language authorizing a Mars Sample Return campaign. (Submitted the following amendment to H.R. 5666.)
- Reject the H.R. 5666's requirements regarding limitations on commercial and public-private partnerships for lunar exploration. (See The Planetary Society's statement on H.R. 5666).
For the 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign:
We are encouraging both campaigns to support the following:
- Prioritize NASA funding and programs.
- Increase funding for planetary exploration, including sending humans beyond Earth orbit, and the robotic exploration of Mars, ocean worlds, and other high-priority destinations.
- Support NASA’s search for life beyond Earth on the ocean moons of our outer solar system and with sample return missions from Mars.
As an organization based in the United States and dedicated to space
science and exploration, our advocacy work is focused on the U.S.
government and civil space issues. However, we seek out and share
opportunities with our members around the world to take action where
Background and Context
The resources below provide additional background regarding our current advocacy priorities.
Submitted to the House Space Subcommittee on 28 January 2020. "The Society's overriding human spaceflight principle is that astronauts should once again voyage beyond low-Earth orbit. The Society is concerned that H.R. 5666, as written, would disrupt and delay a planned return of U.S. astronauts to deep space."
A new budget submission from the White House would continue record-high funding for planetary science, but proposes deep cuts to 2 productive Mars missions and defers funding for deep space telescope dedicated to finding hazardous near-Earth objects.
Despite advances in space technology, certain science questions, including whether or not a Mars rock contains signs of ancient life, can only be answered in Earth-based laboratories.