The Mars Society is asking its members to contact their Congressional representatives and request that they either approve FY2007 supplemental funding for NASA and/or support a budget increase for the space agency in FY08. A key passage from the email sent out by the organization earlier this week:
The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) is under attack. In a Continuing Resolution (CR), Congress has cut $500 million from the 2007 NASA budget, with $900 million cut from the Exploration mission directorate repsonsbile for implementing the Moon-Mars initiative. This cut will hurt VSE and could be the first volley in a new round of attempts to kill it. There are those in Congress who would like to eliminate human space flight all together. This job will be much easier if they only hear whimpers from supporters of space exploration.
We need to tell Congress in no uncertain terms that VSE is vital to our nation and that they need to restore the funds that have been cannibalized from the 2007 budget. In addition, they need to support a healthy increase in funding in the 2008 budget.
As for the odds of an FY07 supplemental, an article in this week’s print issue of Space News reports that a few Senators, such as Barbara Mikulski and Bill Nelson, are still working to get some additional funding for this year. Nelson will be holding a hearing of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee next Wednesday on this topic, although as of today no witnesses had yet been announced for the hearing. However, the current conventional wisdom remains that the best chance to get additional money for NASA will be during the FY08 budget cycle as opposed to an FY07 supplemental.