The Planetary Society Welcomes Continued Budget Growth for NASA, Calls on Congress to Act

Chief of Space Policy Casey Dreier: “This is a good starting point — now it’s up to Congress to ensure continued U.S. leadership in space science and exploration.”

Press Statement
March 14, 2023

Danielle Gunn
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Pasadena, CA (March 14, 2023) — The Planetary Society, the world’s largest independent space interest organization, issued the following statement supporting NASA’s fiscal year 2024 budget request:

“We welcome the Biden Administration’s proposal to increase NASA’s budget by 7% in 2024, which supports the Artemis return to the Moon, Mars Sample Return, and a 2028 launch date of the Near-Earth Object Surveyor planetary defense mission. This budget provides a necessary bulwark against inflation and ensures the U.S. and its partners will continue to lead the world in space science and exploration.

Not all is perfect, however, notably the uncalled-for delay to VERITAS, the U.S.’s first Venus-orbiting mission since the 1980s. Until this budget, the mission was on-schedule and on-budget; through no fault of its own, it now faces an indefinite delay, raising the project’s overall costs, setting back our efforts to understand Venus, and disrupting our international partners’ participation in the mission. We urge Congress to commit NASA to 2029 launch date for VERITAS and to provide the funding necessary for the mission to continue development.

The Planetary Society is also concerned with the increasing cost of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) project. MSR is the top priority of the scientific community as outlined in the National Academies’ 2022 Planetary Science Decadal Survey. It is an ambitious and potentially transformative scientific mission — exactly the type of project NASA should pursue. But it is also complex and subject to fixed launch windows. A delay would be costly both in terms of money and disruption to other science missions. We call on NASA to maintain MSR’s costs, and for Congress to expeditiously fund the early development phase of this project.

Other important recommendations of the decadal survey, including the start of a Uranus flagship mission and growth of planetary science research, are absent in this year’s budget, though we welcome the fact that both are planned to occur in the next five years.

Despite the challenges facing this proposed budget, The Planetary Society notes that NASA has historically enjoyed strong support under both Republican and Democratic control of Congress, and that space exploration remains one of the most unifying and inspiring activities of the federal government. This is an opportunity to invest in nation’s strengths: inspiring, profoundly difficult endeavors that bring out the best in our workforce, scientific community, and international partners."

Press Resources

Casey Dreier, Chief of Space Policy, is available for interviews. Please arrange with Danielle Gunn, chief communications officer, at [email protected]

Petition in support of NASA's budget 
A form letter to Congress advocating in support of a 7% increase to NASA to enable continued progress in Artemis and key planetary exploration missions.

Petition in support of VERITAS 
A form letter to send to Congress to advocate for a launch date of 2029 for this important mission of exploration.

FY 2024 NASA Budget Tracking Page
Highlights from the Biden Administration’s NASA budget request, placed in context with the previous year’s spending. This page will be updated throughout the year with additional information as Congress takes action.

Historical NASA Budgets Dataset
Data includes NASA presidential requests and congressional appropriations amounts from the agency’s origin to today, adjusted for inflation.

Planetary Exploration Budget Dataset
Detailed spending breakdowns and trends on every robotic planetary mission ever launched by NASA. Updated regularly.

Your Guide to NASA’s Budget
Our easy-to-understand explainer of the complex process that determines NASA’s budget.

About The Planetary Society

With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit