Today, Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee, released the following statement after the President’s budget included $1.28 billion for planetary science, an amount he called better, but still insufficient to maintain America’s leadership:
“The budget proposal for planetary science is significantly better than in past years, but is still far below the levels approved by Congress and isn’t sufficient to meet the priorities laid out in the decadal survey – which put the highest priorities on Mars 2020, a Europa flagship mission, and the Discovery and New Frontiers missions. While I’m pleased to see the budget continues to provide funding for the Mars Exploration Program, in particular the Mars 2020 mission, and recognizes the importance of a future mission to Europa, a far greater investment will be necessary to ensure America’s preeminence in planetary science.
“The Administration should recommit to keeping the Mars 2020 project on track and on time, and to a far-reaching Europa mission. Thanks to the brilliant scientists at JPL, we have the unique ability to design, fly and land sophisticated robots on our planetary neighbors – and if these projects are disrupted, we might lose this perishable and incredibly specialized talent pool. America’s leadership on planetary science is not something we should surrender, and is something that my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee have supported repeatedly. I look forward to working with my colleagues, once again, to restore adequate funding to planetary science and only wish it wasn’t necessary to do so year after year.”