Keith's note: Questions at this afternoon's budget press conference can be tweeted with the hashtag #asknasa. NASA will try and answer some of them. Here's my question:
"Mr. Bolden: one of features of this budget are dramatic cuts to NASA's planetary program - specifically, to Mars exploration. This comes at a time when NASA has to cover $1 billion in cost overruns for the Webb Space Telescope. Meanwhile, Mars Science Laboratory is on its way to Mars, itself a billion dollars over budget and 2 years late. Space Station, NPOESS, and other projects with multibillion dollar cost overruns orbit overhead. When is NASA going to stop rewarding large projects that overrun by paying whatever it takes to complete these missions - thus taking funds from other missions that are either on budget or yet to be built? Why is it that after 50 years of space exploration NASA's ability to predict and control costs on large programs seems to be decreasing - not increasing - as one would expect as the agency gained experience?"