Space & Planetary Science: May 2006 Archives

NASA's science programs in jeopardy, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The space agency insists its support for science remains strong. "With the growth in science over the last 15 years to almost 33 percent of NASA's budget, we feel good about the robustness of the program going forward," press secretary Dean Acosta said. Griffin recently dismissed as "almost hysterical" the notion from scientists and some lawmakers that the cuts endanger America's space supremacy."

Campaign Update: The Planetary Society Takes the Fight to Washington

"In contrast to Kennedy's vision, the fiscal year 2007 budget proposed for NASA contains cuts that threaten to end the era of exploration that brought us the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Exploration Rovers, Cassini-Huygens at Saturn, Deep Impact and Stardust. The Administration proposes to drastically cut future space science, especially astrobiology research; to stop work on new missions to Europa and to find terrestrial planets; and to not include Mars planning in the Vision for Space Exploration.The presentation is part of the Society's SOS (Save Our Science) campaign, and will be hosted in conjunction with the House Science Committee."

"Along with the presentation the Society is also launching an ad campaign, calling on Congress to preserve funding for space science. Prominent advertisements, featuring a trash can and the slogan "Don't Trash Space Science!" will appear on May 25 in the Washington Post and Congress's own Roll Call."

Report of the NASA Advisory Council Planetary Science Subcommittee

"A solution must be sought to the legal obstacles imposed by the interpretation by NASA attorneys of federal regulations on conflicts of interest in order to permit open discussion of programs and potential budgetary trades by the full subcommittee."

Report of the NASA Advisory Council Astrophysics Subcommittee

"The Subcommittee recommends that NASA maintain a healthy R&A program. The R&A program both provides the seed corn for future missions and enables scientists to fully harvest the scientific yield from on-going and past missions. The technology development done under the R&A program is essential to the success of future missions, to lowering their costs, minimizing their risks, and maximizing NASA's science return per dollar from its large missions."

Report of the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee

"The large retroactive cut in FY06 will have devastating effects on the research community, especially young researchers, if it is not alleviated in FY07. A one-time cut can be at least partially absorbed by phasing of contracts, delay of purchases, etc., but a long-term cut of that magnitude would have severe impacts on the lifeblood of the Earth science community, with strong negative implications for the ability of the community to meet national needs at a time when the importance of Earth science and global change issues are growing markedly."

Report of the NASA Advisory Council Heliophysics Subcommittee

"Our initial conclusion is that the Heliophysics program (the bottom to paths in the attached summary sheet from that report) defined in the recent roadmap can be carried out with the current funding profile. We recognize that the program is fragile, and that the loss of any single missions would result in substantial damage to the systems approach to understanding the connections among the existing systems in the Heliosphere."

Space Science Update

NASA Budget: Crisis Deepens as Scientists Fail to Rejigger Space Research, Science (subscription)

"... And NASA Administrator Michael Griffin in accepts a portion of the blame. "I made a mistake," Griffin told NASA's new science advisory panel. "I made commitments in advance that I wasn't able to keep," referring to his 2005 promise not to shift money from science to human space flight. NASA's current budget request would trim more than $3 billion from space science through 2011."

"... In the meantime, Griffin pledges to listen more closely to scientists. He spent several hours at the advisory committee meeting answering questions and chatting informally with committee members. "I'm not the world's best communicator," he told them. But "we don't get out of bed, drive to headquarters, and try to screw the program up. ... We're not out to do a Lone Ranger act."

A Crescent Enceladus, A Darkened Saturn, and Backlit Rings

"This image was taken on May 04, 2006 and received on Earth May 05, 2006. The camera was pointing toward Enceladus at approximately 2,108,298 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. This image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2007."

More images at Saturn Today.

OPAG, Day 2: Update from the NASA Advisory Committee meetings this week, Planetary Society Blog

"Fran [Bagenal] continued, "Mike Griffin recognized he made a mistake in dismantling the advisory structure before he put the new one in place; with no way to receive advice, mistakes were made. He said [the cuts to] R&A was his mistake. He emphatically said, 'We are going to the Moon.' He's been told we're going back to the Moon. He was appointed because he wants to go to the Moon. That isn't going to change. Secondly, it's clear he wanted to get rid of the ISS [International Space Station] and shuttle as soon as possible, but he can't, because of international agreements."

Editor's note: Based on reports from the NASA Advisory Council Science Subcommittees Planning Conference held today and yesterday, a number of NASA Advisory Council members admit that they are constrained by NASA lawyers in what they can or cannot discuss in terms of NASA programs. Some feel that they can't do their jobs adequately, Meanwhile, the NASA FY 06 operating plan has been rejected by Congress and NASA is being told to try again. At the same time all of this is happening, Mike Griffin still tells people that he thinks that Mary Cleave is doing a good job. Stay tuned.

Letter from Rep. Wolf outlining concerns by the House Appropriations Committee about NASA's FY 2006 Operating Plan.

NASA Lacks Resources Needed to Sustain Vigorous Science Program

"NASA does not have the resources necessary to maintain a vigorous science program, complete the International Space Station, and return humans to the moon, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies' National Research Council. "There is a mismatch between what NASA has been assigned to do and the resources with which it has been provided," said Lennard A. Fisk, chair of the committee that wrote the report."

What Mike Griffin *Really* Thinks About NRC's Space Station Report, NASA Watch

"I've read the report, and there is not much good in it for us. Not surprising, however, coming from Len Fisk ... The kind of criticism we're receiving in connection with the ISS, in the report Trish references, needs to be addressed for ISS, and needs to be "headed off at the pass" for the Moon."

Mikulski Says NASA Budget Priorities Headed in Wrong Direction

"This should be a wake-up call for NASA and the White House. I call upon the Bush Administration, which proposes to cut billions from NASA's science budget over the next five years, to rethink its priorities and restore balance to our space program."

Planetary Society Mounts Public Effort to Fight NASA Science Cuts, SpaceRef

"The Planetary Society was quick and forceful in expressing its outrage at cuts in the Administrations proposed FY 2007 budget when it was first announced earlier this year. At a press conference held during International Space Development Conference which opened today in Los Angeles, the Society's Executive Director Louis Friedman and TPS Vice President Bill Nye ("The Science Guy") addressed the issue."

Thousands Sign Planetary Society Petitions to Save Our Science

"The Planetary Society announced today the progress of the "Save Our Science (SOS)" Campaign to rescue NASA's space science program, currently under attack in the proposed NASA budget for fiscal year 2007."

American Astronomical Society Releases Statement on NASA FY2007 Budget

"Large, medium, and small programs have been abruptly cut or cancelled. This change has taken place without the broad consultation within the community that we expect when it is necessary to shape NASAs program in times of finite resources. This seems unwise, wasteful of effort, and damaging to the nations ability to develop its capabilities in science."

NASA Advisory Council Science Subcommittees Planning Conference

"The Planning Conference will feature plenary session information briefings by NASA officials on science program status and plans and the NASA FY 2007 budget proposal."

"Thirty minutes will be set aside for verbal comment by members of the general public, not to exceed three minutes per speaker, at 8 a.m. on May 4, 2006."

Editor's note: Wow. Three whole minutes per person. Talk fast, folks.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from May 2006.

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