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

American R&D Policy and the Push for Small Planetary Missions at NASA

Planetary Society Policy Adviser Jason Callahan summarizes his paper he presented at the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Australia, where he examined NASA's low-cost Discovery program and how federal policies directed at higher education initially bolstered planetary science into a viable field.

The Senate Appropriations Committee�s FY 2016 CJS Bill

Congress has made good progress so far this year in moving the annual appropriations bills that fund the government. However, a looming budget battle over the sequestration and budget caps threaten to sideline progress until Congress and the White House reach agreement. Here’s the current situation.

Discovery Lives

Last month teams of scientists from around the United States submitted proposals for the thirteenth mission in NASA’s Discovery program. Jason Callahan discusses this latest round of proposals.

How NASA's Yearly Budget Request Comes Together

It takes a year to make, and is the starting point for all coming debate by Congress. It's the President's Budget Request, and understanding how it comes together is an important part of being an effective space advocate.

What Happens When Space Projects Go Over Budget? The Curious Case of MSL’s Overrun

Jason Callahan takes a detailed look at the effects of Curiosity's cost overruns on NASA's budget.

Want Funding? Then Be a National Priority

On Monday, Jason Callahan published an article in The Space Review discussing the importance of aligning the goals of federally funded scientific communities with national priorities. This post highlights some of the main points of the article and suggests a possible role for The Planetary Society.

How Richard Nixon Changed NASA

The end of the Moon race raised the question: what, if anything, was next for NASA? The decisions made by President Nixon in the aftermath of Apollo still impact the space program today.

A Glimpse Into NASA's New History Archives

NASA's immense reference collection got a makeover at its Washington, D.C. location recently. Jason Callahan gives you a glimpse behind the scenes as guests made their way into the new rooms while enjoying good conversation and, of course, Moon Pies.

Recovery. Peak. Collapse. Planetary Science from 1990 - 2014

The history of planetary exploration repeats itself starting with a resurgent program in the 90s and 2000s that launched a new fleet of planetary spacecraft. Like our first story, this great success rewarded by deep budget cuts.

Growth. Peak. Collapse. Planetary exploration from 1959 - 1989

The first three decades of planetary exploration tell a story that sounds all-too-familiar to modern day space advocates. Growth, peak, and then collapse of hard-earned capability. This is the story of planetary science for the first half of its existence.

The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Planetary Exploration Funding

NASA has explored the solar system since the 1960s, but it has rarely been the top priority for the space agency. Jason Callahan breaks down how planetary science has been funded over the years within NASA's larger budget.

The Competition for Dollars

We all know NASA needs more money to achieve its goals. But competition for money is intense within the U.S. federal government, and two trends have made it harder for NASA to get what it needs.

Space is vast. There's a lot of exploring to do.

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