In what may be a major blow to NASA’s programs regarding Mars and Jupiter, President Obama is contemplating slashing the funding for Mars program as much as by 20 percent. And this decrease in funding may continue over the next four years. This has been reported by the the Washington Post. For the record, the next budget will be unveiled on Monday, so space enthusiasts must brace themselves for some bad news.
Currently, NASA’s Mars program is receiving an annual funding of $1.5 billion. The new budget, if WP’s reports are accurate, will bring it down to $1.2 billion. Mars has been one of the focuses of NASA’s exploratory efforts. A number of probes have been sent by NASA into the planet’s orbit and some have even landed onto the planet, letting us explore the surface of the planet and gather valuable information about it. Recently, NASA had launched a $2.5 billion Curiosity rover which will spend a few years on the planet and explore a 100-mile crater formed on the planet.
Pulling the plug just now when scientists are working hard to reach some definite conclusions about Mars may be disastrous for the research on Mars. According to WP’s report, Obama may also call for an end to the partnership between European Space Agency and NASA, a partnership which was meant to further the efforts on Mars.
The truth really is that there aren’t many space-enthusiasts in the Congress and whenever it comes down to cutting down spending, they resort to pulling the plug even on some of the most significant projects. According to Rep. John Abney Culberson, “You don’t cut spending for critical scientific research endeavors that have immeasurable benefit to the nation and inspire the human spirit of exploration we all have.”
Image courtesy NASA Goddard.