The Solar System Exploration Survey (SSE) Survey will tell NASA how to spend their budget through the year 2013, and let them know what you most want them to explore. NASA wants both groups of scientists and ordinary citizens to use the survey to make know their objectives and desires when it comes to space exploration.

?This is one of the most direct chances the public has to provide input to NASA,? says Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society, a group whose members advocate exploration of the solar system. ?I?d say it?s very rare.? He says the results of the SSE will influence NASA decisions on what missions to fly. Other considerations include cost, as well as the expected scientific return. ?I think it will have impact,? says Betts, ?but one has to realize it is one piece of the process.?

The online survey asks participants to rate the importance, on a scale of 1-10, of eight objectives, including looking for life on other planets, determining the suitability of other planets for human colonization, and searching for any potential danger to Earth from space.

Another question asks which of 15 destinations, from planets to asteroids and comets, is the most important to pursue. In addition, educators are asked to provide input on how NASA can help in the classroom.

Mark V. Sykes, past chairman of the American Astronomical Society?s Division for Planetary Sciences, says the survey ?will have a lot of political utility. It?s a lot easier to sell a program to Congress if you say, ?This is what an entire?community thinks? rather than, ?This is what Mr. Joe Blow Important thinks.??

Note: You have to answer the survey questions by January 31st. To access the survey,click here.

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