The Mars Society released a statement over the weekend where, not surprisingly, it expressed strong opposition to the proposed cuts to NASA’s Mars exploration program contained in the agency’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. “America’s planetary exploration program, in particular that involving the Red Planet, is one of the greatest chapters in the history of science, civilization and our country. Its abandonment represents nothing short of embracing America’s decline,” Mars Society president Robert Zubrin said in the statement. It encouraged members to participate in next week’s Space Exploration Alliance “Legislative Blitz”, a grassroots lobbying effort where participants will meet with congressional offices.
On Monday the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), a professional organization of planetary scientists, warned of the “grave danger” NASA’s planetary sciences program was in because of the proposed budget cuts. “Reductions of this magnitude focused narrowly on planetary science indicate that NASA is stepping away from one of its most popular and successful programs,” the DPS statement reads. “This program provides excellent value to America.” The statement falls short of calling on specific action beyond urging “Congress to support and fund a vigorous planetary science program as recommended by the National Research Council” (a reference to last year’s planetary science decadal survey), although in a tweet from the DPS DPS chair Dan Britt called on members to email or fax their congressional representatives.