Planetary Exploration Newsletter Volume 2, Number 2 (January 5, 2008)

Status Report From: Planetary Exploration Newsletter
Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2008

PEN Website:
Editor: Mark V. Sykes
Co-Editors: Matt Balme, Nic Richmond
Email: pen_editor at


With the passage of the NASA budget it is now possible to provide you with some of the good news in the R&A portion of Planetary's budget. In a recent PEN [Vol. 1, Nr. 37, December 30, 2007] Mark Sykes posted a high level overview of the FY08 Planetary Science Division's budget. The funds in the FY08 budget line stated as Planetary Science Research and Analysis ($146.6M) are not all the funds that are used in our ROSES call. This is because a number of elements (ie: the mission data analysis calls such as Cassini, Mars, Lunar, and the Discovery) actually come out of the mission budget lines. So in order to make a fair yearly comparison we just need to look at all the money that 'goes out the door' for R&A before we can really get a sense of the trends. In addition, there were several years in which NASA book kept a variety of NASA Center support in the R&A budget line that makes those years nearly impossible to use for direct apples-to-apples comparison. So I have completed the simple analysis, starting with FY05, and here is what we actually spent each FY since then for the Planetary ROSES opportunities.

FY05: $168M
FY06: $155M
FY07: $142M

Now for this current fiscal year our PROJECTED funding for R&A is

FY08: $201M.

You can do the math and easily see we have made some significant strides towards developing a healthy R&A program and I recognize that we need to do more. This increase has come from two sources. The first source is new funding for Lunar science research. In anticipating this new funding we have completed the LRO participating scientist selections, established a new NASA Lunar Science Institute at AMES with an open call for science and exploration nodes to be issued this year, and will soon be announcing the Lunar Advanced Science and Exploration Research (LASER) selections. The co-funding that will come from the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate for their portion of this Lunar activity has not been included in the projected total for FY08. The second source is that we have switched out some of our far-term technology investments for a gain in the R&A. I recognize that this is like robbing 'Peter to pay Paul' and over the next several fiscal years I will have to address this more carefully but without a vital science research community we won't have missions or need the technology either. It's all a matter of balance.

I am very excited about our future. We have a number of fantastic activities this year to accomplish and I will continue to be amazed with each and every new planetary science discovery. With Alan at the helm we are making great progress. Hope to see you at the next LPSC or DPS meetings.

[Editor Note: FY08 NASA Planetary Science Budget information posted at has been modified to include Jim Green's numbers.]

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