If approved, Obama will sever NASA’s partnership with European Space Agency to send probes to Mars
February 9, 2012
The budget coming Monday from the Obama administration will send the NASA division that launches rovers to Mars and probes to Jupiter crashing back to Earth.
Scientists briefed on the proposed budget said that the president’s plan drops funding for planetary science at NASA from $1.5 billion this year to $1.2 billion next year, with further cuts continuing through 2017.
It would eat at NASA’s Mars exploration program, which, after two high-profile failures in 1999, has successfully sent three probes into Martian orbit and landed three more on the planet’s surface.
“We’re doing all this great science and taking the public along with us,” said Jim Bell, an Arizona State University scientist and president of the Planetary Society who works on NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity. “Pulling the rug out from under it is going to be really devastating.”