Troubles parallel ambitions in NASA Mars project, USA Today
"They aimed high, and they got burned," says Arizona State University's Phil Christensen, a Mars scientist who helped review NASA's Mars program. To make up for Mars Lab's ballooning cost, $1.2 billion, NASA has had to raid the coffers of other science projects. ... Despite the missteps, Edward Weiler, the acting head of NASA's science division, says he'll do what it takes to fund the rover. Many NASA science projects will have take a small hit to pay for the overruns. "I'm trying to spread the pain," Weiler says. "Everything is fair game."
Editor's note: Ah, how quickly NASA slides back to the old way of doing things - one big project bursts through its cost cap and everyone else has to pay for it. Where is the incentive to stay within cost caps if you know that NASA will always pay your overrun and take it out of everyone else's hide - especially if you are a big center with lobbyists prowling around Congress? Indeed, doesn't this incentivize other projects to build in some margin in their proposals (thus increasing costs) as insurance ? Why "spread the pain", Ed? Why not focus the "pain" on the source of the overrun?