"We write today to assert the importance of maintaining our nation's human spaceflight program. Our constituents spoke loudly and clearly in the last election and sent a wave of new and reelected Members with a mandate to reduce federal spending. Moreover, each of us understands that our nation is on an untenable economic path and spending must be reduced. In getting our fiscal house in order, however, we must focus carefully on ensuring that we preserve critical capabilities and guarantee that agencies are focused on their primary mission. For NASA, that mission is human space exploration, and we ask that NASA funding be allocated in a way that refocuses NASA on this core mission."
Keith's note: As one reader notes: From the NASA Act of 1958 sec 102(d):
"The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:
(1) The expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space; ... (3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies, and living organisms through space"
Note that the FIRST item in the act is studying the Earth, atmosphere, and related space phenomena (such as space weather). Human spaceflight is a subset of the THIRD item. Earth Science, broadly defined, is not a new or strange activity for NASA."