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The Planetary Society Asks the Public to Speak Up About NASA Missions


Mat Kaplan
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Think NASA's on the right track or do you think the agency needs a change of direction? The Planetary Society seeks public input for the Planetary Decadal Survey being conducted by the National Research Council.

At NASA's request, the National Research Council is conducting a planetary science community assessment of the priorities for U.S. planetary research programs for the next 10 years. The Planetary Society has been asked to assist this "decadal survey" by seeking input from the general public about planetary exploration.

Respondents can access the survey questionnaire at the Society's website, but hurry, the deadline for completing the form is January 31, 2002.

"This is an exciting and rare opportunity for the public to provide input to NASA's planning for the next ten years of planetary exploration," said Bruce Betts, Director of Projects at The Planetary Society. "We encourage everyone to take advantage of this chance to be heard."

NASA selects its missions and scientific objectives based on many considerations, including the anticipated scientific return, cost, feasibility, and public interest. This is the public's opportunity to tell NASA what they consider the priorities should be for planetary exploration and how they would like to be informed about the results from missions. All individual views expressed in the survey will be kept anonymous.

The brief survey includes sections on prioritizing the ultimate purpose of US planetary exploration, selecting the most important missions (i.e. Pluto, the Moon, Saturn, etc.), and whether it is preferable to mount missions to new bodies not previously visited by spacecraft or missions to explore previously visited objects in greater detail.

The questionnaire also asks how people prefer to learn about the results of exploration missions, though the internet, lectures, magazines or some other source.

One question relates solely to educators, asking what NASA products they prefer for classroom instruction about planetary exploration.

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