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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Calling Congress Is Easy

Calling your senators and representatives about NASA's budget isn't that bad. In fact, I just took 15 minutes out of my day to do it! If you're not sure what to say to support planetary exploration, I hope you'll be inspired by what I've transcribed from my phone call this afternoon.

Pounding the Pavement in Congress, Together

A coalition of grassroots pro-space advocates descended on Washington, D.C. this week, and held over 100 meetings with representatives and staff throughout Congress to argue for increased investment in NASA.

A Note on the State of Planetary Science

Heidi Hammel, the Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science, reacts to the recent budget news and the uncertain future for planetary science at NASA.

Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration

Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown

Launch preparations will resume for NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch to Mars on November 18th. Work had previously been suspended, potentially causing the spacecraft to miss its once-every-26-month launch opportunity.

August Advocacy Update: Where We Stand

Planetary exploration sees strong support from both parties in the current budget process, but we have a long way to go before a budget is passed this year.

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