Neil DeGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist extraordinaire and Planetary Society Board Member, will be testifying to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation tomorrow, March 7, at 11:00 am Eastern Standard Time.
At 10:00 am, Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator, will be the first witness called to speak about "Priorities, Plans, and Progress of the Nation's Space Program." Neil will follow Bolden to provide his inimitable Big Picture ideas -- which lately have included a suggestion to double NASA's budget.
As you may have heard, under the U.S. Administration's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013, planetary science would see its funding slashed by 20 percent, from $1.5 billion this year to $1.2 billion next year. This strikes at the heart of one of NASA's most productive and successful programs.
Carefully planned missions to Mars have already been cancelled. Proposals to explore the outer planets have been swept off the table. We are entering the bleakest time for space exploration since The Planetary Society was founded 30 years ago.
Congress has the power to turn this crisis around. The Planetary Society will be submitting written testimony to the Senate committee, as well as to the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which is holding its own hearing at 2:00 EST tomorrow.
The Planetary Society will soon be calling on all its Members to take action and demonstrate to Congress that the rash cuts to NASA planetary science must be reversed. Watch your mailbox and read your e-mail for the latest updates in our campaign to restore this science in NASA. Or you can follow @PlanetCharlene on Twitter.