WASHINGTON – The House Science Committee will tomorrow hold a hearing to review the proposed fiscal year 2007 (FY07) budget for the Science Mission Directorate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and to examine how that budget would affect research in space science and earth science.

The proposed budget for science is a controversial aspect of NASA’s FY07 budget request because it would result in the cancellation or delay of a number of missions and  provides little funding for the initiation of any missions beyond those already in the queue for development or launch.

The Committee plans to explore the following overarching questions at the hearing:

  1. How did NASA determine its science priorities for the FY07 budget?  To what extent are NASA’s priorities based on the decadal surveys in which scientists determine the priorities for their fields?  Do those surveys need to be redone now that science funding may be lower than was expected?
  2. What impact would the proposed science budget have on the research agenda of space and earth scientists?  What technological advances and scientific discoveries may be delayed or foregone and how significant a loss would that be?
  3. To what extent would the proposed FY07 budget make it difficult to attract or retain students or researchers in the space and earth sciences?  What steps can be taken to ensure that these fields remain healthy in an era of budgetary constraints?
  4. Has NASA provided an appropriate amount of money for science in its FY07 budget request, given the competing needs of science, aeronautics, the Space Shuttle and International Space Stations programs and the Vision for Space Exploration?

  Thursday March 2, 2006
Full Science Committee – Hearing
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate: Impacts of the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Proposal
10:00a.m – 12:00p.m.
2318 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)

Witness List:

  • Dr. Mary Cleave is the Associate Administrator at NASA for the Science Mission Directorate.
  • Dr. Fran Bagenal is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Sun-Earth Connections, “The Sun to the Earth and Beyond” (2003). Dr. Bagenal is a Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Dr. Wes Huntress is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Solar System Exploration, “New Frontiers in the Solar System” (2003). Dr. Huntress is the Director of the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and was Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA from 1992 to 1998.
  • Dr. Berrien Moore is the Co-Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Earth Sciences, “Earth Observations from Space: A Community Assessment and Strategy for the Future” (expected fall 2006). Dr. Moore is the Director for the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire.
  • Dr. Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. is the Co-Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Astrophysics, “Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium” (2001). Dr. Taylor is a Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

  Additional information on tomorrow’s hearing, including the hearing charter, is available at http://www.house.gov/science/hearings/full06/March%202/index.htm