March 28, 2016 – As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) participated in a hearing with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden about funding for NASA’s space and aeronautics programs in FY2017.
The President’s FY2017 request for NASA’s appropriated funding is $18.262 billion, about a $1 billion cut from the $19.285 billion Congress appropriated for FY2016. The Senate and House appropriations subcommittees that fund NASA have all vowed to ensure that NASA gets the money it needs to proceed with the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft, a robust planetary science program, and the other priorities Congress delineated for FY2016. Congress has made clear in its appropriations bills that its priorities are SLS, Orion, and a robotic mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa.
In what is potentially Administrator Bolden’s last hearing during the Obama Administration, both Republicans and Democrats praised Bolden’s service to the nation as a Marine and as NASA Administrator. Bolden rose to the rank of Major General in the Marine Corps before retiring and has served as NASA Administrator since 2009.
In addition, Rep. Perlmutter continued his quest to send humans to Mars in 2033 urging his colleagues to “push forward” and work together to provide a financial platform to build a program that gets astronauts to Mars by 2033. He also asked Administrator Bolden how NASA feels about the idea of getting humans to Mars by 2033.
Administrator Bolden praised Perlmutter’s recent op-ed and the “Mars 2033: We can do this” bumper sticker that Perlmutter regularly holds up during committee meetings. Bolden also talked about the importance of the “constancy of purpose” and “Congress and the Administration coming together to set a long-term vision “for our grandchildren.” Bolden ended by saying “NASA can’t stop at the moon. That’s why we’re focused on Mars but it’s step by step.”
On March 8, Perlmutter and Rep. Smith (R-TX) co-authored an op-ed in the Denver Post advocating for the mission in the year 2033 because of ideal planetary alignment and the shorter round trip travel time of 18 months compared with 2-3 years.