2009 NASA Budget Request Strong on Earth, Weak on Mars, Planetary Society
"Whereas Earth monitoring and lunar and outer planets' exploration all stand to benefit substantially from the proposed budget, Mars exploration will suffer from NASA's new science priorities. No Mars lander is currently planned to follow the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory, and the orbiter previously slated for 2013 has now been postponed. A Mars sample return mission is planned for 2020, but no funds have been allocated for it as yet."
"Planetary exploration is a unique symbol of our country's scientific drive, technological leadership and pioneering spirit. Over the past decade, the Mars program has been the strongest and most successful element in NASA's exploration portfolio."
Editor's note: The last time I checked there were
9 10 (perhaps hundreds) - of "planets" in our solar system - and more than a hundred known moons - all of which need to be explored. Next to Earth, I wonder which individual planet or moon has more U.S. (or otherwise) spacecraft in orbit about it than all other worlds (except Earth) - combined? And how many are still yet to be flown? And yet what does the Mars community do in tough budget times? They whine, of course.