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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Feb > Feb 14

NASA Budget Pushes Science To The Brink

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


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