NASA SMD Has Already Given Up On Mars

NASA Will Not Fly Next Mars Rover Until 2020, Aviation Week

"But the fact remains that "the train has left the station," as NASA Planetary Science Director Jim Green said when asked if more funding would allow NASA to resume joint Mars exploration work with the European Space Agency. ESA has shifted to partnering with Russia for Mars exploration after NASA's bailout. [Orlando] Figueroa, heading the Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) as it drafts a downscoped, go-it-alone Mars exploration program, told planetary scientists on the NASA Advisory Council May 8 the $700-800 million that will be available for robotic Mars exploration by 2018 under the new NASA budget request will not support a rover. "A stationary lander may be possible in 2018," Figueroa says. "A mobile lander, a rover, doesn't fit the budget we have available, so we need to jump one opportunity to generate enough funds to be able to do it."

Keith's note: Well, it sounds like the career NASA SMD bureaucrats have already made up their minds as to what they want NASA to do, what they want you think NASA cannot do, and who cares what anyone else thinks. So why bother going through the Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) proceess? Let's face it: people like Figueroa, Green et al are fresh out of ideas, focused simply on lowering expectations, and content upon doing routine Powerpoint presentations for meetings where nothing of importance is ever decided.

Poor NASA. It has already forgotten how to do low-cost, out-of-the-box Mars missions like Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity rovers. Very depressing. Is this any way to explore the solar system?

- NASA's Out of Date Search for Life on Mars, earlier post
- NASA's Mars Program Planning Group: Same Old Answers or Open To New Ideas?, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on May 16, 2012 12:48 AM.

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