Light Millennium English Banner Logo of The Light Millennium Issue Fall 2001: Quotes
We have only one WORLD yet!
If we destroy it, where else can we go to? - 7th issue - Fall 2001

Victory! House-Senate Conference Approves Pluto Mission Funding
Date:  Thu, 8 Nov 2001 16:58:31 -0800
To:  "planetarysociety" <>


"If Congress had not restored the funding, the opportunity for reaching the last unvisited planet in our solar system would have been lost for a generation."

Dear Friend--

We thought you'd like to see the press release we sent out last night. Our Pluto Campaign has succeeded in convincing the U.S. Congress to provide funding for a mission to the last unexplored planet. We owe this success to all the Planetary Society members, colleagues and friends who let Congress know that they want NASA to complete the reconnaissance of the solar system.

Thank you!
Louis Friedman
Executive Director

P.S. Please feel free to forward this message to anyone who might be interested. And for more information on our Pluto campaign, please visit


Victory! House-Senate Conference Approves Pluto Mission Funding


The U.S. House and Senate conference committee acting on the fiscal year 2002 NASA appropriations have approved $30 million funding for development of the Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, despite opposition by the Bush Administration. They specifically directed that "funds provided should be used to initiate appropriate spacecraft and science instrument development as well as launch vehicle procurement," and that NASA proceed with selection of a team to develop the mission.

"This is a victory for public interest," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. "The people let Congress know that they want NASA to explore Pluto -- the only remaining unexplored planet in our solar system -- and Congress responded."

This digital image was created by John Unver Culkin, (born January 1997)
whose the most favorite planet is PLUTO.


The Society has been leading a grass-roots effort to convince Congress to restore the mission to the NASA budget after the Bush Administration proposed eliminating it.

"The strong support for space exploration in the Congress is very welcome, especially at a time when there are so many other budget pressures," Friedman added. He praised the House and Senate conferees noting that they also restored full funding to the Mars program which had been threatened with budget cuts.

If Congress had not restored the funding, the opportunity for reaching the last unvisited planet in our solar system would have been lost for a generation.

Additionally, the chance of seeing its atmosphere before it froze and condensed would have been lost for more than a century.

The funding, and launch vehicle constraints, probably mean that the mission to Pluto cannot launch until 2006 -- two years later than had been hoped. 2006 is the last launch opportunity for more than a decade to utilize a Jupiter gravity assist -- where the spacecraft would get a boost from Jupiter -- to reach Pluto.

Mission times, depending on the launch vehicle selected, will be from 10-12 years.

The Administration is now faced with the choice of putting Pluto in its proposed fiscal year 2003 budget, or risking another fight with Congress next year. The Pluto mission was placed by Congress in the Outer Planets line item, which also includes a Europa orbiter mission. The Europa mission would be launched later than a Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, but arrive earlier at its destination.

Special Thanks to: Charlene Anderson

This issue is dedicated to such distinguished artists and author as (alphabetical order):
We will be celebrating the second anniversary with the Winter-2002 issue.
Deadline: January 7, 2002
This e-magazine is under the umbrella of The Light Millennium, Inc.,
which was granted a NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization
status based in New York since July 17, 2001.



© The Light Millennium e-magazine was created and designed by Bircan ÜNVER. 7th issue. Fall 2001, New York.
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