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My guest this was Planetary Society Board vice president Heidi Hammel. We discussed two planets near and dear to our hearts, Neptune and Uranus. What's new on these icy worlds since Voyager 2 passed by, and what are the prospects for their future exploration?
No mission to Europa, diminished funding for outer planets missions, a small bump to small spacecraft missions, and an increase for asteroid detection are part of the White House's proposal for NASA in 2014.
The Administration just released its proposed budget for 2014 and it contains some very bad news for NASA's planetary exploration program. Just three weeks ago the U.S. Congress rejected similar cuts proposed for planetary exploration last year. It was a clear statement of support by both Congress and the public: planetary exploration is an affordable national priority.
NASA's new budget doubles down on cuts to Planetary Science, despite Congress rejecting a similar proposal last year.
Doug Ellison shared this lovely panorama via Twitter over the weekend. It's from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, taken back in 2004. The drunken path in the foreground is a visual record of just how exciting it was for Spirit to have finally made it to the Columbia Hills, and to rocks that were not fragments of basalt.
Despite a $223 million boost from Congress this year, NASA's Planetary Science Division may not be allowed to use that money so NASA can prevent cuts in other programs.