Response to budget action



As we are all aware, the President has announced his intention to balance the federal budget for FY ′81 in order to help control inflation. To accomplish this goal, essentially all agencies except the Department of Defense will sustain budget reductions. All of us concur in the need to reduce inflation. However, many of us are concerned with the impact of the proposed cuts on the nation's scientific programs. For example, the National Science Foundation may suffer a $74 million reduction in budget, affecting all areas of basic science. The proposed cut in the NASA budget has been reported to be approximately $219 million. Because the space shuttle is sacrosanct, a large fraction of these cuts, approximately $107 million, will be borne by the Office of Space Science, the office primarily responsible for space missions and related science support in astronomy, planetary science, and solar-terrestrial relationships. Proposed high-quality missions and, if Congress increases the depth of the cut, basic science support may be seriously affected, possibly permanently impairing our nation's ability to remain preeminent in the exploration of space.