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.

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:

For NASA Authorization Legislation:

Two pieces of legislation have been proposed, one from the Senate (S. 2800) and one from the House of Representatives (H.R. 5666).

  • 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 appropriate.

Background and Context

The resources below provide additional background regarding our current advocacy priorities.

Planetary Society Statement on H.R. 5666 (PDF)

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."

Two Mars Missions Are Gutted Despite Near-Record Funding for Planetary Science

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.

NASA's FY 2021 Budget

Current status and action items for NASA's fiscal year 2021 budget.

Your Guide to NEOSM

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission, NEOSM, is a mission that will launch as soon as 2025 to protect our planet from dangerous space rocks.

Your Guide to Mars Sample Return

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.

Your guide to the Roman Space Telescope

The Roman Space Telescope is the next step in our hunt for Earth-sized exoplanets and our understanding of mysterious dark energy.

Space Policy Resources

Additional data, detailed reports, and policy proposals by The Planetary Society that outline the organization's priorities and recommendations.