The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society
is concerned about the arbitrary cancellation in the President’s budget of
NASA-sponsored missions, done without consulting NASA’s own scientific advisory
committees or other independent science advisory groups.

In the case of the Pluto-Kuiper Express mission, for instance, the ability to
recover from such a decision is made difficult by the impending loss of a
Jupiter gravity assist necessary for this mission. NASA had called upon the
planetary science community to come up with a PKE mission plan meeting strict
budgetary goals. Planetary scientists have worked hard to meet the challenge.

We note that the Senate has voted to significantly increase spending
authorization for federal science programs including those within the NASA
budget. In the event that such additional resources are made available to NASA,
the cancellation of the missions eliminated in the President’s budget should be
reconsidered, if it can be realized without impact to NASA’s other science


Mark V. Sykes

DPS Chair


Wesley T. Huntress

DPS Vice-Chair


The DPS, with more than 1200 members, is the nation’s largest organization
of professional scientists solely devoted to exploring the planets and
other bodies of the solar system.