When a congressman and current nominee for NASA Administrator asks you to be his guest at the state of the union address in Washington, D.C., how do you respond?
For us, the answer was easy. Yes, Bill would be there.
The State of the Union, the constitutionally-mandated Presidential report to Congress, begins at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT on January 30th. And the CEO of The Planetary Society will be there to listen.
As you might expect, we hope to hear the President make supportive statements regarding space exploration, particularly in the context of recent policy directives supporting human exploration of the Moon. We also hope to hear a mention of the awesome scientific capability and exploration ability of NASA’s science divisions—a topic we raise frequently with members of Congress.
While in Washington D.C., Bill Nye will meet with members Congress of both parties to promote the priorities of The Planetary Society and its members: an increased NASA budget, increased priority on NASA’s scientific divisions—particularly in the search for life—and for a sustainable, forward-looking effort to get humans beyond low-Earth orbit and on to Mars.
As the Society’s Space Policy & Advocacy program has grown, we have worked hard to integrate a core philosophy: space exploration is for everyone. To that end, our efforts in space policy and advocacy are not bipartisan—they are nonpartisan. We firmly believe in the ability of space to unite people of different backgrounds, beliefs and ideologies together in a shared purpose. The politics of space can work the same way. If we share a common ethos behind space, that provides an opportunity to build personal relationships and trust that, perhaps, can lead to a more perfect union.
2018 is poised to be a major year for space. There are launches, important deadlines for human spaceflight, a new NASA Administrator, and lots of work to be done by the National Space Council. The Planetary Society will be there to represent the pro-science, pro-exploration views of its members and supporters.