Status Report

Message to Outer Planet Research Community by NASA Mission Directorate’s Solar System Division

By SpaceRef Editor
January 27, 2005
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Message to Outer Planet Research Community by NASA Mission Directorate’s Solar System Division

Editor’s note: The following emails were sent on 27 January 2005 by Andrew Dantzler, acting director of the Science Mission Directorate’s Solar System Division, to all the recipients of the 24 January 2005 memo written by Curt Niebur.

Dear Outer Planet Research Community,

As I stated in my previous email to you, I am writing to notify you of the status of the Outer Planets  Research FY05 funding.

Your Outer Planets Research funding has not been cut.  Rather, the budgetary line item that contained this funding has been moved under the Planetary Geology and Geophysics (PG&G) R&A line for purely administrative reasons.  The Outer Planets R&A will continue to be administered as it has been, for example, evaluations of proposals will be via an Outer Planets evaluation panel that is separate from that for PG&G.  However, the account number will change to reflect PG&G.  Please contact Dr. Steve Saunders, PG&G Discipline Scientist, or Dr. Curt Niebur, Outer Planets Discipline Scientist (who will continue to administer the Outer Planets R&A under the PG&G line) if you have questions regarding your funding. 

Again,  I sincerely apologize for the misinformation from this office that has caused concern over the past few days.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.


Andy Dantzler

Dear Outer Planet Research Community,

I am writing regarding the email you received January 24 from Curt Niebur, the Outer Planets Discipline Scientist, regarding your FY05 Outer Planets Research Program funding.  That email to you requires clarification.

First, the Administrator of NASA does not involve himself in budget discussions at the Division level.  He did not “order cuts” in R&A as the Discipline Scientist’s email suggests.  Budget discussions and decisions of this nature are made within the Solar System Division and vetted within the Science Mission Directorate.

Second, while the NASA FY05 budget is “in place,” adjustments and augmentations must be made to the budget to account for the changing status and requirements of our flight programs and missions.  Discussions about programmatic changes within the Solar System Division budget have included making administrative changes to the R&A program, particularly to the Outer Planets Research Program.  The administrative changes that have been discussed do not affect the R&A budgets; however, out of context, these changes could be interpreted as a reduction to R&A.  It was this out-of-context information that was the basis for the erroneous email of January 24.

When the adjustments to the FY05 budget are finalized, I will be contacting the R&A Principal Investigators to let them know the status of their FY05 funding.  I expect to make these communications by the close of business January 28.

Due to miscommunications within the Solar System Division, the email that you received was misleading and premature.  I sincerely apologize for the confusion and concern that it has caused.  I am working with Science Mission Directorate Management to institute a process that will eliminate future miscommunications to the Science Community.


Andy Dantzler

Andrew A. Dantzler
Acting Director
Deputy Director
Solar System Division
Science Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters

SpaceRef staff editor.