In an effort to rally support for NASA and its space exploration budget, which is facing about $300 million in cuts, students and professors are having a bake sale with super nova brownie cookies, Milky Way cupcakes and other delights.
“We’re going to lose a lot of satellites and things that can explore planets, and the idea is to tell Congress not to do it,” Tracy Becker, a graduate student in planetary science, told the Daily News. “The main thing is to get the awareness out so people can talk to their local representatives.”
Becker, who currently works on the Cassini mission to Saturn, says photos from the Voyager mission to explore the solar system inspired her to become an astronomer. “These programs create high-tech jobs and new technologies,” she added.
The bake sale is one of several demonstrations astronomers plan to stage Saturday to highlight what they say are the perils of shortchanging planetary science.
“It’s important these cuts be repaired to maintain U.S. leadership in this area of science, to prevent mission cuts, and to prevent student and research job losses,” Alan Stern, a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute who helped organize the events, said in a statement.
Though NASA’s budget for the coming fiscal year will support more than 80 science missions, including 28 in development, the agency says spending reflects difficult choices. “There’s not doubt that tough decisions had to be made, here at NASA and all across the government,” Charles F. Bolden, Jr., the agency’s administrator, told Congress in February.
NASA said Thursday it decided to halt work on a new telescope that uses X-ray technology to explore black holes and other deep space phenomena after the tab for the project significantly exceeded budget.