Your impact: June solstice 2024
Your impact: June solstice 2024

Advocacy actions in support of NASA’s budget

In February, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced layoffs of 530 people, roughly 8% of the lab’s full-time workforce. This dramatic action was caused by a congressional fight over Mars Sample Return. The U.S. Senate had proposed to slash MSR’s budget by $522 million; the House of Representatives, on the other hand, had strongly supported the project and proposed an increase to $949 million, the amount originally requested by the White House. Due to unrelated politics delaying final 2024 appropriations by more than five months, NASA restricted the rate of spending on MSR to match the lowest possible budget scenario from the Senate.

In response to this, The Planetary Society called on our U.S. members to write to their representatives in Congress and urge them to pass a budget supporting NASA’s science portfolio, including MSR and other high-priority missions. Within a matter of days, over 1,800 people from every state had taken action online, speaking up for the importance of space.

Ultimately, Congress passed a budget preserving most science programs, though funding did decrease. MSR was reinforced as NASA’s top planetary priority, and though its budget was not restored, NASA was granted flexibility during its restructuring period.

The Day of Action

On April 29, we held our Day of Action, bringing nearly 100 advocates
from across the United States to Washington, D.C., to meet with their
representatives in Congress and speak about the importance of investing
in space science and exploration. Research has shown that in-person
constituent meetings like these are the most effective way to engage
elected officials on topics like space exploration. Participants in this
year’s Day of Action advocated for funding for NASA’s overall science
portfolio, including Mars Sample Return, Habitable Worlds Observatory,
planetary defense, and the search for life beyond Earth. You can read
more about the Day of Action at

Originally published at

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