Culberson, Kilmer, Senators and Bill Nye Announce New Bipartisan, Bicameral Planetary Science Caucus

Today Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) and I announced we plan to launch a new bipartisan Planetary Science Caucus in the United States House of Representatives. 

The Planetary Science Caucus will unite members of both parties who are passionate about the scientific exploration of space, and promote efforts to:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of federal investment in space science, technology, exploration, and STEM education, which grows jobs and boosts the nation’s economy.
  • Support private industry, academic institutions, and nonprofits that research and explore space.  
  • “Find life in our lifetimes” by advancing federal policies that support the search for life in our solar system and beyond.

It’s such an extraordinary time to be alive as America’s leadership in space is renewed. Space exploration spurs innovation, leads to advances in lifesaving technologies, and generates long-term economic growth. I’m proud to help spearhead this caucus and its bold vision to make undiscovered truths known to humanity, and to inspire the next generation to study science and mathematics.

“Exploring space brings out the best in our nation, leads to new technologies, and helps grow jobs,” Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) said. “Since our country first set our sights on the moon, exploring space has meant an America that competes and wins. With the right investments in education and research, and with support for innovative companies, America will continue exploring and leading the way.”

The Planetary Science Caucus will also be open to members of the Senate with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) already signed up as original members.  

While other member organizations currently exist in Congress concerned with space issues, the Planetary Science Caucus will focus on the opportunities and inspiration provided by the scientific exploration our solar system and solar systems beyond. 

The caucus will hold its first educational briefing on the topic of returning samples from Mars, the Moon, and asteroids on February 27 in the Rayburn House Office Building. On March 14, the caucus will co-sponsor a formal panel discussion regarding near-Earth asteroids and planetary defense in partnership with Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress presentation will be headlined by Planetary Society CEO, Bill Nye.

“I am excited about our new caucus,” Bill Nye said. “I believe space brings out the best in us. We solve problems that have never been solved before. We motivate our brightest minds to address unique technical, management, and diplomatic challenges. We push and develop a technologically capable workforce. Advances and innovations inherently emerge from space exploration, which lead to economic growth and national pride. This caucus will help advance scientific investigations and engineering projects in space, and support future discoveries and engineering feats that will improve lives here on Earth.”

Additional members in the House of Representatives include: Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).

An official event celebrating the launch of the caucus is planned for later this year.


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