Green: NASA's Planetary Science Program Still Best in the World

Green: NASA's Planetary Science Program Still Best in the World

In response to an op-ed by Bob Zubrin in today’s Washington Times, NASA’s planetary science division director said that NASA’s planetary science program is still “the best in the world.”

Zubrin’s op-ed asserts that “the Obama Administration intends to terminate NASA’s planetary exploration program.”

At a meeting of the Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS) of the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council this afternoon, Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, disputed that statement. While acknowledging that the planetary science division faces a sharply reduced budget compared to its expectations a year ago, Green said: “I’m here to say the future doesn’t look as healthy as it has been, but it is still the best program in the world.”

Green pointed out that Zubrin’s view of planetary science is Mars-centric. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been reassessing plans to move forward with a joint robotic Mars exploration plan because of reduced NASA budget expectations. Green stressed that the United States is experiencing an “austere” budget climate and the political process is moving slowly compared to what is needed to support international agreements.

The full NAC Science Committee meets at NASA Headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Green and the PSS will brief the committee at 10:00 am on Monday. The meeting is open to the public.

Meanwhile, Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, is teaming up with the Planetary Society for a “Capitol Hill forum” on November 3 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Editor’s Note: The time for PSS to brief the NAC Science Committee on Monday has changed to 10:00 am, instead of 10:30.

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