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NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Up Shop?

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Date: Thursday, November 3, 2011

Location: , Washington, DC US, 20515

On November 3, 2011, the Planetary Society and the Mars Society are co-sponsoring a Capitol Hill forum titled "NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Up Shop?" to cast light on decisions being made today that may well darken the future of space exploration.

The planetary exploration program is in grave danger; in its FY 2012 budget, the Office of Management and Budget has effectively terminated support for future missions. The space astronomy program may see the Kepler telescope turned off in mid-mission, and the James Webb Space Telescope has been targeted for cancellation by the House of Representatives.

No one denies that fiscal realities are forcing difficult choices. Congress and the Administration must try to balance the demands of today with visions of what space exploration can achieve in the future.

The key will be in making wise choices that preserve future space accomplishments, advance humanity's exploration of the solar system, and push back the boundaries of the known universe.

The Planetary Society and the Mars Society have assembled a stellar panel of space experts to consider the choices and discuss the promises and possibilities of NASA's science and exploration programs, what will be lost if solidly planned missions are allowed wither, and what opportunities should be seized, even in these hard fiscal times.

The speakers will be:

Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society

Professor Jim Bell, President of the Planetary Society

Professor Scott Hubbard, former Director NASA Ames Research Center

Dr. Heidi Hammel, Executive VP, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

The forum will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2011, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, in room 338 of the Rayburn Office Building, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street, Washington, D.C. Boxed lunches will be provided.

If you would like to attend this event, please contact Linda Wong at the Planetary Society, tps@planetary.org or 626-793-5100.

The Planetary Society, founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman, and now led by science educator Bill Nye, inspires and involves the world's public in space exploration through advocacy, projects, and education. Today, The Planetary Society is the largest and most influential public space organization group on Earth. Dedicated to exploring the solar system and seeking life beyond Earth, The Planetary Society is non-governmental and nonprofit and is funded by the support of its members.

The Mars Society is an international space advocacy, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars. It was founded by Robert Zubrin and others in 1998. The organization works to educate the public, the media and government of the benefits of Mars exploration, networking the communities involved, and exploring the possibilities of privately funded missions to the red planet.

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