From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul> Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 18:03:08 +0000 Archived: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:37:10 -0500 Subject: NASA Budget Pushes Science To The Brink An update from the Planetary Society, KK ----- From: tpsmbl.nul To: catraja.nul Subject: NASA Budget Pushes Science to the Brink Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:27:12 -0800 Dear Kathy Kasten, Today, NASA announced its budget for its fiscal year 2013. As you might imagine, there are large budget cuts. But, the planetary science program has been cut disproportionately. NASA=92s allocations are out of balance. With this budget, there will be no more flagship missions, no more fantastic voyages of discovery in deep space. Deep space exploration is not a faucet that can be turned on and off. If NASA loses its expertise in interplanetary missions, the world loses it. We are on the verge of finding evidence of life elsewhere in the Solar System. With these cuts to NASA science, humankind loses. There=92s going to be a fight. The Planetary Society is already swinging into action on this issue. Stay tuned. We must maintain the momentum needed to investigate humankind=92s deepest questions about ourselves and life itself. See our full statement below. Sincerely, Bill Nye CEO, The Planetary Society PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 13, 2012 Science Pushed to the Brink Proposed FY 2013 Budget Would Devastate Planetary Science in NASA The Planetary Society=92s Statement On the Administration=92s Proposal for the Science Mission Directorate The U.S. Administration is proposing a budget for Fiscal Year 2013 that would force NASA to walk away from planned missions to Mars, delay for decades any flagship missions to the outer planets, and radically slow the pace of scientific discovery, including the search for life on other worlds. NASA=92s planetary science program is being singled out for drastic cuts, with its budget dropping by 20 percent, from $1.5 billion this year to $1.2 billion next year. The steep reductions will continue for at least the next five years -- if the Administration=92s proposal is not changed. This would strike at the heart of one of NASA=92s most productive and successful programs over the past decade. =93The priorities reflected in this budget would take us down the wrong path,=94 said Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society. =93Science is the part of NASA that=92s actually conducting interesting and scientifically important missions. Spacecraft sent to Mars, Saturn, Mercury, the Moon, comets, and asteroids have been making incredible discoveries, with more to come from recent launches to Jupiter, the Moon, and Mars. The country needs more of these robotic space exploration missions, not less.=94 Fallout from the threatened budget cuts is forcing NASA to back out of international agreements with the European Space Agency (ESA) to partner in the Mars Trace Gas Orbiter, planned to launch in 2016, and threatens the ExoMars rover, set to launch in 2018. Without NASA to provide launches and critical equipment, Europe has turned to Russia to keep the missions alive by becoming its partner in the missions. If Congress enacts the proposed budget, there will be no =93flagship=94 missions of any kind, killing the tradition of great missions of exploration, such as Voyager and Cassini to the outer planets. NASA=92s storied Mars program will be cut drastically, falling from $587 million for FY 2012 to $360 in FY 2013, and forcing missions to be cancelled. The search for life on other potentially habitable worlds -- such as Mars, Europa, Enceladus, or Titan -- will be effectively abandoned. =93People know that Mars and Europa are the two most important places to search in our solar system for evidence of other past or present life forms, said Jim Bell, Planetary Society President, =93Why, then, are missions to do those searches being cut in this proposed budget? If enacted, this would represent a major backwards step in the exploration of our solar system.=94 =93I encourage whoever made this decision to ask around; everyone on Earth wants to know if there is life on other worlds,=94 Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, said. =93When you cut NASA=92s budget in this way, you=92re losing sight of why we explore space in the first place.=94 =93There is no other country or agency that can do what NASA does=97fly extraordinary flagship missions in deep space and land spacecraft on Mars.=94 Bill Nye said. =93If this budget is allowed to stand, the United States will walk away from decades of greatness in space science and exploration. But it will lose more than that. The U.S. will lose expertise, capability, and talent. The nation will lose the ability to compete in one of the few areas in which it is still the undisputed number one.=94 To solve the problem and put science back on track, The Planetary Society recommends that the budget be rebalanced among NASA=92s directorates to reflect value to the nation, and that the share of NASA=92s budget devoted to the Science Mission Directorate be increased to a minimum of 30 percent. This percentage would keep on track NASA=92s world-class science with rigorously selected missions with clearly defined goals and carefully crafted plans that are ready to proceed. NASA=92s proposed top-line budget for FY 2013 is $17.7 billion, with Science at $4.9 billion (or about 27.5 percent). Increasing that share up to 30 percent would provide enough funding to keep scientific exploration healthy. Mars missions could be restored to the agency=92s plans, and work on future flagship missions, such as Mars Sample Return or a Europa Orbiter, could move forward. =93How many government programs can you think of that consistently fill people with pride, awe, and wonder? NASA's planetary exploration program is one of the few, and so it seems particularly ironic and puzzling that it has been so specifically targeted for such drastic budget cuts,=94 Jim Bell commented. =93Now that the budget is out, The Planetary Society will mobilize its tens of thousands of members and supporters in the fight to restore science in NASA to its rightful place,=94 Jim Bell said. =93We will work with Congress to advocate a balanced program of solar system exploration with exciting and compelling missions that are supported by the public=97who ultimately are the ones paying for everything NASA does.=94 # # # About the Planetary Society The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a long time member of the Planetary Society's Board of Directors, is now the CEO. Planetary Society 85 South Grand Pasadena, CA 91105 USA Web: www.planetary.org Voice: (626) 793-5100 Fax: (626) 793-5528 Email: tps.nul Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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