NASA's Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet, NY Times
"In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted. In this year's budget and planning documents, the agency's mission is "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research."
NASA's Mission (1 Letter) [by Mike Griffin], NY Times
"Deletion of the phrase "protect our home planet" from the 2006 strategic plan brought it into alignment with our statutory responsibilities and actual capabilities. Indeed, it was not clear that inclusion of the phrase made sense in the first place, since it raised questions that NASA is not able to address."
Editor's note: Oh c'mon, Mike, this is just silly. The things that your predecessor did had the same White House approval as the things that you say and do today. OMB and OSTP go over all this policy stuff with a fine toothed comb before they sign off on releasing these plans - and you know it. The previous wording was just as much "in alignment" with the mood the White House was in at the time - when your Deputy Administrator worked there. If it wasn't they never would have signed off on the original document in the first place.
As for what the phrase "protecting our home planet" means, it would certainly seem that these folks - and Congress - understand what part of the phrase entails (in addition to the officially taboo 'theory' of global warming).
Near-Earth Object Detection, Characterization, and Threat Mitigation Workshop
NEO News (06/30/06) XP14 and NASA NEO Workshop, NASA ARC
"On June 26-29, nearly one hundred scientists, engineers, astronauts, and managers from NASA, industry, and academia met in Colorado for an informal workshop to discuss how best to respond to NASA's new Congressional mandate to survey and characterize sub-km-diameter NEAs in order to understand and mitigate the threat of impacts by such objects."