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Bipartisan Initiative Aims to Educate Congress, Public on US-Led Planetary Science Projects

Space mission funding

Bipartisan Initiative Aims to Educate Congress, Public on US-Led Planetary Science Projects

Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., have restarted the Planetary Science Caucus in Congress, aiming to educate other lawmakers and the public on the importance of space exploration.

In an event hosted by The Planetary Society on Tuesday, Chu said that the United States needs the caucus at a time when the future of American planetary science is under threat.

The bipartisan initiative to revive the caucus comes at a time when NASA is facing funding challenges over its programs. The 2024 spending bill cut the U.S. space agency’s overall planetary science budget by nearly a billion dollars, allotting it only $2.72 billion out of the more than $3.38 billion it requested, SpaceNews reported.

In a statement, Bacon said the caucus also aims to foster innovation that prioritizes space exploration as a gift for the next generation.

In December 2023, Prasun Desai, NASA’s acting associate administrator for space technology, said the agency could further slow down the progress it is making with missions if Congress decides to award a lower allocation.

In March, Congress did exactly what Desai feared when it approved a 2 percent lower budget for NASA at $24.875 billion under the 2024 spending bill.

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Category: Space

Tags: Congress Don Bacon Judy Chu NASA Planetary Science Caucus planetary science missions space SpaceNews