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US Mars exploration budget takes hit

Mars/NASA

In “Where now for Mars exploration?” (BBC News, 14 February, 2012), Jonathan Amos reports,

It’s the planetary scientists who probably have the glummest faces a day after President Obama announced his 2013 budget request for Nasa.

Although the agency gets a flat budget overall ($17.7bn), there are ongoing and expensive commitments in certain portions of the financial pie – such as to the SLS “monster rocket” and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – and this puts a squeeze on other areas.

Planetary science loses 20% of its current $1.5bn budget, with Mars exploration taking the single biggest hit, down from $587m this year to $360m next year – a 39% reduction.

This leaves European partners at something of a loss. The upshot is that we may not be hearing as much news about the Red Planet.

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