Planetary exploration is one of the three core enterprises of The Planetary Society. It's in our name, after all. This deep prep page includes report highlights summarizing the current status of both robotic and human exploration efforts.
- Selections from NASA Inspector General report summarizing the current Planetary Science Division program (October 2020)
This provides a good overview of current and planned planetary missions, the recent budget growth (thank you, past space advocates!) and relevant policy recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences' Decadal Survey report.
- Project Artemis program status and outline (Sept 2020)
Though this was prepared prior to the Biden Administration, it is still relevant, as the new White House has stated its support for the program. Keep in mind that the 2024 goal cannot be met. Also, pay particular attention to the section on the Human Landing System. NASA is preparing to make a major decision on which proposals to pursue within the next few months. Congress is also divided on the role of private partnerships for this project. It is the most dynamic and uncertain part of Artemis at the moment.
- Your Guide to Mars Sample Return
A good summary of the highest-priority planetary exploration project of the coming decade.
The Planetary Society's Principles for Human Spaceflight
Please be familiar with the organization's formal priorities for human exploration.
Goals for the reader
To understand the context, motivations, and major initiatives within NASA's human and robotic planetary exploration efforts
To reflect upon the major budgetary and political challenges for sending humans into deep space and to Mars
To integrate this knowledge with The Planetary Society's official stance on near-term human spaceflight goals