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Red Planet meets red ink: budget ax could chop two NASA Mars missions

Pete Spotts
CS Monitor [1]
February 11, 2012

The most successful Mars exploration program in human history appears headed for serious downsizing as the White House and Congress struggle to tackle America’s fiscal woes.

In the budget President Obama is sending to Congress Feb. 13, NASA’s space-science program is slated for a 20 percent cut from its current level. The Mars exploration portion is expected to be cut by more than a third, according to early reports.

Overall, the reports suggest that the total budget request for NASA will come in close to this year’s budget of $17.8 billion. But the agency is having to absorb significant cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope, successor to The Hubble Space Telescope, and has had to do likewise with the Mars Science Laboratory, currently en route to the red planet.

Meanwhile, the agency’s Earth-science and human-spaceflight efforts are expected to fare better.

Full article here [1]