NASA Mars Program Threatened by Senate Funding Bill, Planetary Society
"It appears that the entire sum will be taken out of the Mars exploration budget, including $20 million from funds supporting the Mars Exploration Rovers. This could force NASA to shut down the Mars rovers at the end of the current fiscal year!"
Editor's note: "It appears" and "could force"? Sorry Lou, that's not quite what I am hearing from NASA and elsewhere here in Washington. While the Senate did take $30 million out of Mars reserves, the House did not do this in their version of the bill and between subsequent conference action on this bill and inherent flexibility within NASA's Mars program, this is not expected to be present in the final Appropriations bill.
Besides, what kind of message would Congress be sending out by singling out a single, small item such as the rovers - just as Opportunity is poised to enter Victoria Crater - at the same time as they are going out of their way to tell people how they have substantially increased the money they feel NASA deserves?
The Planetary Society has been (rightfully and to their credit) complaining about space science cuts. So, guess what: Congress strongly reverses this trend - and yet the Planetary Society still seems to be missing the bigger picture.