Keith's note: At a time when substantial job cuts loom for the Florida economy due to Shuttle retirement, and Recovery Act money is flowing steadily elsewhere in the U.S., one would think that NASA would be looking at ways to offset some of the post- Shuttle economic impact. Guess again.
In July 2008, scientists at the University of Central Florida proposed the $50 million "Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk" (GOLD) mission to NASA's Explorer program. After NASA and scientific community peer review this experiment was selected for Phase A development and funding as a mission of opportunity under its Explorer science space program.
Despite getting excellent ratings, and a recommendation by its own Explorer review panel to proceed, NASA Science Mission Dorectorate AA Ed Weiler decided not to select the mission for full development due lack of funds. Once again, it would seem that SMD's inability to cover cost overruns on large projects such as the Mars Science Laboratory continues to have a negative ripple effect on new science missions. Oh yes, there is another large MSL overrun that will be announced soon.
Rep. Susan Kosmas (D-FL) has taken this mission's plight under her wing and has been working hard to get some face time with NASA on this topic. Alas, the office of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has not done anything of consequence to probe this matter further. This inaction on Nelson's part is rather odd given his rhetoric on other issues facing Florida's workforce.