Monday, March 24, 2008

"NASA cut means no roving for Mars rover"

Too bad.

LOS ANGELES - Scientists plan to put one of the twin Mars rovers to sleep and limit the activities of the other robot to fulfill a NASA order to cut $4 million from the program's budget, mission team members said Monday.


Both rovers were originally planned for three-month missions at a cost of $820 million, but are now in their fourth year of exploration. It costs NASA about $20 million annually to keep the rovers running.

I hate to see them limited or shut down now, especially since they've performed well beyond expectations. They are truly one of NASA's triumphs.

UPDATE: NASA has changed its mind.

LOS ANGELES - NASA has no plans to turn off either of the healthy twin Mars rovers to make up for cost overruns faced by a big new rover slated to fly to the Red Planet next year, the space agency said Tuesday.

In a rare move, NASA said it rescinded a letter sent last week to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that directed budget cuts to the Mars exploration program, including a $4 million reduction from the rovers project.

Good move.

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