Today, Rep. Adam Schiff released the following statement after the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee released its draft proposal significantly upping funding for planetary science:
“I’m very pleased that the subcommittee has made such a strong investment in planetary science – one of the Crown Jewels of NASA’s portfolio. With this funding increase, we will be able to keep Mars 2020 on track and begin an exciting new mission to Europa, two of the science community’s highest priorities. We should also be able to continue the operation of craft that have exceeded their estimated lives but continue to produce valuable science.
“Thanks to the brilliant scientists and engineers at NASA and 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. This appropriations bill will ensure that we will not surrender America’s leadership on planetary science, and I thank Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah for working with us to, once again, restore adequate funding to planetary science. I only wish it wasn’t necessary to do so year after year.”
Overall funding for planetary will be at $1.45 billion, including a total of $302 million for the Mars program of which not less than $100 million is for the Mars 2020 rover, which will meet the decadal goals of advancing a sample return. The bill also includes $100 million for a Europa Clipper mission to the Jupiter system, which could be launched as early as 2021. Below are the previous budget requests and enacted numbers for NASA, planetary science and Mars exploration in the past three years:
|Agency||FY 2012 Request||FY 2012 Enacted||FY 2013 Request||FY 2013 Enacted*||FY 2014 Request||FY 2014 Omnibus|