As part of the annual federal budget process, on June 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-IA (Veterans Affairs - Housing and Urban Development - Independent Agencies) reviewed funding requests for the discretionary programs under its jurisdiction. NASA funding is included in the IA portion.
On July 8, the full House Appropriations Committee passed the VA-HUD-IA bill with no changes to the Subcommitee's report. There were no amendments offered that were directly related to NASA.
Among the agencies covered by the VA-HUD-IA appropriation, the VA, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and HUD received more money, with NASA's budget cut from current spending of $13.710 to a proposed $13.648 -- a $62 million reduction not counting inflation. However, the NASA appropriation is $148 million above the Administration's proposal of $13.5 billion. One hundred million would go to the US/Russian Cooperative Program to ensure the space station is not adversely affected by Russia's delay.
The NSS thanks activists who responded to our earlier alert calling for a stabilized budget. The many letters sent in by individuals and by NSS HQ contributed, we believe, to a better House outcome than we might have expected. The task, however, does become more difficult now as the bill comes before the full House and the Senate begins its review of VA-HUD-IA appropriations on Tuesday, July 15 (subcommittee review). The goal is to prevent any further erosion in proposed spending.
NSS HQ continues to alert key congressional members through detailed letters and faxes on the status of NASA funding, and the ramifications of any additional cuts.
MARS PATHFINDER: ON-LINE AND MEDIA REPORT
This is all incredible information -- we hope you will read through this and use it in your discussions, presentations and recruiting efforts. We should all be proud of what has happened over the last week.
Thanks to the efforts of NSS On-line Manager Robert Pearlman, America Online SEO Manager Glenn Heinmiller and an incredibly dedicated (and now, sleep-deprived) group of volunteers, the NSS has staged a number of real coups for the Mars Pathfinder mission. Following are highlights of the on-line records we have met and surpassed, and for which we are receiving national and international media attention.
a) NSS's special "Mars Madness" section at http://www.nss.org/mars, and our Space Exploration Online (SEO) section on America Online, were the FIRST on-line areas to post Mars images for downloading. NSS got there before NASA and even CNN Interactive. We were able to do this thanks to some satellite/technological/team maneuvering by on-line volunteers.
b) NSS's on-line areas (web and America Online) are now exclusive hosts to the only on-line quicktime VR movies available of the first panorama and now the new "monster" panorama/ This was made possible through the gift and help of an Apple Software Product Manager who came across us in a chat room and wanted to get involved!
c) On-line usage numbers as of Thursday, July 10
After July 4 (For The Five-Day Period From July 4 - July
AMERICA ONLINE KEYWORD "SPACE"
The on-line activities have also generated an incredible amount of support from the on-line community, resulting in valuable links with other popular sites, free placement of "Mars Madness" banner ads, two very successful live events system-wide on America Online, electronic messages from around the world and more.
The Mars Pathfinder Mission Homepage (http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/) (this site is mirrored by 25 other sites and we are listed on each one!)
"Join our friends at the National Space Society for "Mars Madness!"Florida Today's Space Online (http://www.flatoday.com/space/today/070297g.htm)
(reprinted our "Mars Madness" press release on their site)Lockheed Martin's Space Day (http://www.spaceday.com/)
"PATHFINDER ALERT!!!: This Friday, at approximately 10:02 AM Pacific Standard Time, Mars Pathfinder will touch down on the red planet's Ares Vallis flood plain, becoming the first craft from Earth to visit the Martian surface in over twenty years. Witness this historic event on-line at the National Space Society's Mars Madness Image Archive. Images from Pathfinder and the roving exploratory vehicle Sojourner should reach Earth around 4:15-5:00 PM PST."MacWeek Magazine's Macintouch: July 7 (http://www.macintouch.com/)
The National Space Society has posted a QuickTime VR movie, created by product manager David Palermo, from the Martian Probe.CNN Interactive (http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9707/07/mars.pm/index.html)
'Perfect' day on Mars yields evidence of ancient floods: Multimedia Links listed the National Space Society's Quicktime VRApple Computer's Quicktime VR Website (http://qtvr.quicktime.apple.com/)
Website featured Mars Pathfinder QTVR coverage and included our listing.Sample E-Mail Comments:
>Fantastic site. The best of the lot. Keep it up!
>In your suggested list of locations to hold a Mars Party you could
>Just a short note to say thanks you for the time and effort to upload
>I have to congratulate you. I am a Planetary Society member and NSS member.
>How is it that you folks seem to have more and better info sooner than
AMERICA ONLINE "SPACE EXPLORATION ONLINE"
a) The NSS ran two AOL Live Events. The 7/7 AOL Live event with JPL's Donna Shirley hit 991 max simultaneous audience which, according to AOL Live, makes it number 90 in the AOL Live top 100. AOL Live does about 60-70 events per week. This is an exceptional number especially considering it was a non-primetime event. The July 3 event with author Kim Stanley Robinson pulled 160 simultaneous audience, again, a respectable figure due to holiday timing and a technical difficulty that prevented some members from attending.
b) SEO's Chat room was filled on 7/4 from 12 to 12 ET with 20-40 people most of the time. The room was maxed out at least once which means there were 50 plus an unknown number who couldn't get in. Chat room continues to be very busy.
3) Throughout the weekend, SEO volunteers were constantly scanning sites in search of accessible sites, sources for pictures etc. NSS actively managed the connections for the benefit of AOL members and did not just repeat content from another area.
Selected comments from AOL members:
I just want to share my excitement of this Whole Pathfinder and its coverage. I always "dreamed" of being involved with NASA since my single digit years. I attended "Robert H Goddard Junior High" in Queens NY. Haven't yet realized my "dream", but with technology getting more an more avail to the laymen...who knows!!! Now 38 yrs old, at least I live in Florida and only a couple + hrs from the cape.
These are AOL areas that we know of which had special links to
NSS related to Pathfinder activity:
Known special Partner links to us (Partners are other companies
or organizations that supply content to AOL):
PT. 2: MEDIA [TO DATE]
Thursday, July 3, 1997:
Friday, July 4:
Saturday, July 5
Sunday, July 6:
Monday, July 7:
Tuesday, July 8:
Wednesday, July 9:
Thursday, July 10:
Friday, July 11:
PT. 3: PLANETFEST BOOTH
Jim Spellman and Bob Gounley organized a fantastic display for the three days of the Planetary Society's Planetfest in Pasadena, July 4 - 6. Highlights from Jim's report include: