Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representative's Appropriations Committee marked up the bill covering NASA's budget that was sent to it by the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee, and the results will not make Planetary Society supporters happy.
- An amendment to overturn the cancellation of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was defeated.
- An amendment to add money to commercial crew development also failed.
- The budget request for NASA's Space Technology program remains cut by 60 percent.
The big winner in today's House committee action was again the Space Launch System, the rocket legislated by Senate committee, which was given even more money than requested in NASA's proposed budget.
The appropriations bill now goes to the floor of the House of Representative for a vote by all 435 members, possibly next week, or possibly after the annual August recess. It is probable that another amendment to save JWST will be offered from the floor, but prospects for its passage are not good.
So, what can you and I do next?
Several groups have rallied around the "Save the James Webb Space Telescope" banner, and there are petitions up on Change.org and other on-line sites, while a special group page has been created on Facebook. Check them out, and if you find one that you feel comfortable supporting, go ahead and sign up.
Back at the Planetary Society, we're laying out a new strategy and tactics for our broader campaign to protect space and Earth science, even while bumping the human-exploration side of NASA toward what we believe is the best path beyond Earth orbit. When we've solidified the detail of our next action, we'll alert you.
Meanwhile, if you haven't already, and if you're a U.S. citizen, please sign the Planetary Society's petition >>
If you live outside the U.S., please go to the petition to President Obama >>
Remember, there's only one way to win this struggle. Together!