FISCAL YEAR 1996 ESTIMATES 

                                   BUDGET SUMMARY 

                                         FY 1994         FY 1995          FY 1996      
                                                   (Thousands of Dollars)

Physics and Astronomy                  1,149,000       1,195,500        1,131,100     

Planetary Exploration                    771,900         817,100          827,800     

       Total                           1,920,900       2,012,600        1,958,900

                            SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND TECHNOLOGY

                                FISCAL YEAR 1996 ESTIMATES



Humans have been continually driven by a profound curiosity to discover and understand our origins, our existence and our fate.  
For millennia, humans have gazed at the sky, observed the motions of the of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars, and wondered about 
the universe and how we are connected to it.  The remarkable discoveries made by scientists over the years, which have revealed 
many intricate workings of the natural world, have been largely unexpected.  The quest for knowledge and understanding about the 
universe in which we live send us to its farthest reaches, to continually explore and search for more answers. 

The mission of the Office of Space Science is to seek answers to fundamental questions about : 

	The Galaxy and the Universe - What is the universe?  How did it come into being?  How does it work?  What is its ultimate 

	The Connection between the Sun, Earth, and Heliosphere - How does the Sun influence Earth and the rest of the solar 
        system?  What causes solar variability? 

	The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Systems - What was the origin of the Sun, the Earth, and the planets, and how did 
        they evolve?  Are there worlds around other stars?  What are the ultimate fates of planetary systems? 
	The Origin and Distribution of Life in the Universe - How did life on Earth arise?  Did life arise elsewhere in the universe? 

Throughout its history, the accomplishments of Space Science program have rewritten textbooks.  The ultimate beneficiary of this 
program of exploration is the American public.  Communicating the benefits of the Space Science program to the American public is 
an underlying goal in all the activities of the Space Science programs. 


Science strives to find objective answers to the questions raised above through observation, development of theories and hypotheses, 
experimental tests of ideas, and discovery.  The Space Science program uses exploration to acquire knowledge and make discoveries.  
We explore physically, by means of space probes and planetary landers and orbiters, and we explore remotely, by means of 
telescopes and other observatories in Earth or heliocentric orbit that observe the Sun, the solar system, and the distant universe.  
Each scientific area to be addressed follows the same path, leading from definition of the specific questions to be answered, design, 
development and conduct of new experiments to address new questions, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of the results of 
these experiments, and finally, employing the new knowledge to frame new scientific questions.  Each major Space Science program 
element is structured to follow that path. 

The past several years have been one of tremendous change in the Space Science program.  The significant budget growth 
experienced from 1986 through 1991 was driven by the approval of several new large programs.  Since 1992, the budget 
expectations for NASA budget have been reduced drastically, and has forced a major upheaval in all of the ongoing programs within 
the Space Science program, to rescope these activities to fit within a much tighter funding envelope.  The Cassini mission to Saturn 
was restructured to significantly reduce the peak funding requirements and life cycle cost of the mission, but simplifying the 
spacecraft, reducing mission operations costs, and trimming science requirements.  The Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility 
(AXAF), the third of the four great observatories, has been significantly descoped to an imaging mission, and operations costs were 
reduced by eliminating on-orbit servicing of the spacecraft and planning for a shorter operational lifetime.   

This changing environment has fundamentally altered the way the Space Science plans its missions.  Planning is now for smaller, 
less expensive missions requiring shorter development times.  The Mars Surveyor program, designed to achieve the lost Mars 
Observer science objectives, provides a more robust approach, distributing risk with two launches per opportunity using small 
orbiters to recover global orbital survey objectives and an evolutionary series of small, inexpensive landers to meet landed science 
objectives.  The Discovery program, will carry out small focused solar system exploration missions, that can be launched within 
three years of initiation for a cost of no more than $150 million (FY 1992 dollars) including the launch vehicle.  Another key in 
adapting to this new environment has been to reengineer mission operations.  The emphasis is on efficient, innovative approaches to 
achieve more autonomous, less labor-intensive operations. 

The key to a robust Space Science Program in the future is a major investment in new technologies to reduce launch costs through 
the reduction of spacecraft mass, and to reduce total life cycle costs through enhanced effectiveness.  Investments in new 
technologies will permit major scientific advances to be made with smaller, more focused, and less costly missions.  A major new 
initiative, the New Millennium Spacecraft, is underway to aggressively push the development of technologies which will result in 
spacecraft and instruments a fraction of their current size, yet accomplishing world-class science.  The New Millennium Spacecraft 
program involves participation by a number of program offices within NASA, who will identify key technologies for development as 
well as test the results with specific science missions.  The result of this initiative will ensure that opportunities for exploration 
continue, maintaining NASA's excellence in Space Science.