Astronomers warn about NASA planetary funding cuts

When President Obama spoke Monday at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, to mark that institution’s sesquicentennial, space got only the briefest of cameos in his address, and even that managed to rub some scientists and space activists the wrong way. “Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate [...]

Reaction to the NASA budget proposal

The fiscal year 2014 budget proposal for NASA is, as previously noted, fairly similar to the agency’s 2013 proposal, with the notable exceptions of the new asteroid initiative and changes to NASA’s education programs as part of the administration’s broader STEM education consolidation. That may be why the budget has, so far, not gotten a [...]

Petitions, full of sound and fury, signifying…

Back in December I noted the space advocacy community’s continued, if perhaps misguided, fascination with White House petitions. Petitions have been the tool of first resort—and sometimes the tool of only resort—to demand funding increases for NASA or other policy changes. The problem is that they often fail to reach the necessarily threshold (recently increased [...]

Tweeting a solution to sequestration? Probably not.

With just two weeks before the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are now scheduled to take effect (two months later than originally planned), organizations concerned about what those cuts could do to various agencies are stepping up their outreach and lobbying. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is urging its members to reach out to [...]

Scientists and advocates once again seek restoration of NASA planetary funding

The Planetary Society released this week a statement prepared “in collaboration” with the planetary sciences divisions of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and American Geophysical Union (AGU) about the current state of NASA’s planetary sciences program. The organizations support NASA’s decision announced nearly two months ago to develop a Mars rover based on Curiosity for [...]

In bold new fiscal era, space advocates need to be more effective

The so-called “fiscal cliff” and its across-the-board spending cuts are set to take effect on Wednesday, and the last week has seen little progress to a resolution to at least delay those cuts. Even if there is a breakthrough in the next few days, we’re likely heading into an era of constrained budgets. Is the [...]

What can $300 million a year buy for NASA’s planetary program?

In its continued quest to restore $300 million to NASA’s planetary science program, The Planetary Society described in a blog post this week what that restored funding could provide. According to “newly-formed internal budget numbers” provide to the organization from unnamed “sources within the planetary science community,” that additional funding could, in the long term, [...]

Planetary Society congratulates Obama, asks for more planetary funding

What do you do when the candidate who won the election was the one whose budget cut your favorite program? In the case of The Planetary Society, the answer is to congratulate him—and ask him to reverse those cuts. In a statement Thursday, the organization congratulated President Obama on his reelection Tuesday while asking him [...]

The Planetary Society looks ahead to planetary science funding in the 2014 budget

The space advocacy organization The Planetary Society has been pushing for months to try and undo the proposed cuts in NASA’s planetary science program in the 2013 budget proposal the administration released earlier this year. While the results of those efforts are yet to be determined—Congress has yet to pass a final 2013 appropriations bill [...]

Packing the house for a Senate hearing

Adding to a busy week, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday afternoon titled “The Path from LEO to Mars”. The hearing will start with an update on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, followed by a second panel of witnesses to discuss NASA’s “exploration portfolio” from low Earth orbit to Mars.

The Planetary Society [...]