Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 12:05:38 -0500
Subject: DPS Mailing #06-09:  Statement by the DPS Committee to NASA Advisory Council...
 
Greetings, DPS members,
 
 +------------------CONTENTS---------------------------------+
   1)  Statement by the DPS Committee to the NASA Advisory Council
   2)  Correction
   3)  Belton Symposium
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STATEMENT BY THE DPS COMMITTEE TO THE NASA ADVISORY COUNCIL
 
The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society 
has over 1200 planetary scientists with a strong interest in the 
future direction of NASA's solar system exploration program. In 
response to the NASA Advisory Council Science Subcommittee's call for 
public input, the DPS Committee, elected to represent our 
membership, endorses the following priorities for NASA's planetary 
science programs.
 
Scientific exploration of the solar system is one of NASA's crown jewels 
and finest achievements, but it is under serious attack in the current 
NASA budget. Our highest priority is adequate and stable funding for 
NASA's research and analysis programs, which have been targeted 
for substantial cuts in both the FY'06 and FY'07 budgets. R&A programs 
for past and ongoing planetary missions provide the scientific payoff 
to the taxpayers for their substantial investment in exploration. It 
makes no sense to carry out missions without adequate support 
for the analysis of the data that have been acquired with enormous 
effort and at great expense.
 
It has been argued that, with a reduction in future missions, the R&A 
budget should be correspondingly reduced. This is simply not true. 
To give just two examples, the amazingly successful Cassini 
mission to Saturn, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that has 
just begun its work, will collectively return more high quality 
data than ever before about these two planetary systems. Yet, the 
funding available for Cassini data analysis is a tiny fraction of the 
overall cost of the mission, and the same is true for many other 
successful planetary missions. Additionally, R&A is needed to plan 
for new missions, both in the immediate future and over the 
long term. Withdrawing support for R&A not only diminishes the 
return from past missions, but imperils America's continued 
preeminence in solar system exploration.
 
In difficult budgetary times, we realize that priorities must 
be set and compromises must be made. We urge that NASA take into 
account the Decadal Survey that has been thoughtfully prepared to 
identify the key scientific objectives in solar system 
exploration. We further urge that NASA work in close concert 
with the scientific community to develop a balanced program 
of small, intermediate, and flagship solar system missions, 
adjusting the flight schedule if necessary, while maintaining a 
robust R&A program. Sending spacecraft to other worlds without 
interpreting the results is tourism, not science. The taxpayers 
who fund NASA deserve better.
 
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Correction to Item 2 in DPS Mailing #06-08:
 
Dr. Jennifer Grier, the Chair of the DPS Education and Public 
Outreach Subcommittee, is now at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI).
 
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BELTON SYMPOSIUM
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
We invite you to attend the "Belton Symposium: Journey through 
the Solar System" to be held on November 10 & 11, 2006 
(Friday and Saturday) in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.  For further 
information, please see http://www.noao.edu/meetings/belton/
 
Please feel free to forward this message to Dr. Belton's colleagues 
and friends who are not DPS members.
 
Beatrice Mueller
LOC chair
 
 
Send submissions (no attachments, please) to:
Linda French Emmons, DPS Secretary (lfrench @ iwu.edu)
Department of Physics
Illinois Wesleyan University
P. O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702