In the video embedded below, Bill "The Science Guy" Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, addressed an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to grant more funding to the sciences and specifically to the study of our solar system.
"Mr. President," said Nye, "the space program, NASA, is the best brand the United States has."
All over the world, he said, NASA's accomplishments in space exploration are celebrated and revered.
"Right now what NASA does best is explore the solar system through the planetary science program," he continued. The world sat riveted as we lowered a rover on to the surface of Mars and set about exploring our planetary neighbor.
Congress has cut and then restored funding for the planetary science program, but Nye said in his address to the president that the program is too important to subject to the vagaries of political demagogues and their stunts.
Nye made a specific request that the program to explore the solar system receive $1.5 billion per year, less than 10 percent of NASA's total budget. He said it is vitally important that we expand our understanding of our planetary neighborhood and the forms of life that might inhabit it.
"Planetary exploration not only brings us astonishing discoveries from other worlds," he said, "it inherently leads to innovation" as scientists and engineers and designers tackle problems they have never had to solve before.
"But more importantly," he said, "supporting a robust space program raises everyone's expectations of what is possible." It drives us as people, as a species, to be more innovative, smarter and driven, and inspires the world to strive for excellence.
"It will help us change the world," he concluded.
Watch the video, embedded below via The Planetary Society: