On Monday night, President Obama addressed a crowd of science enthusiasts gathered on the White House lawn for their Astronomy Night event. The President talked about the importance of science and the excitement of the next great discovery, which is a deeply important topic and worth continued investment by the nation. He also called out several recent achievements by NASA that caught my ear:
These three discoveries—using data from NASA's Kepler, New Horizons, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, respectively—were all paid for by NASA's Planetary Science Division (Kepler is now operated by the Astrophysics Division).
The President's 2016 budget proposed to cut NASA's Planetary Science Division by $78 million from last year. This isn't an aberration. Since 2012, the White House has repeated attempted to slash Planetary Science funding at NASA—delaying or cancelling the very types of missions the President highlighted today. Hopefully this means 2017 will see something better.