Word has leaked out that in its new budget, the Obama administration intends to terminate NASA’s planetary exploration program. The Mars Science Lab Curiosity, being readied on the pad, will be launched, as will the nearly completed small MAVEN orbiter scheduled for 2013, but that will be it. No further missions to anywhere are planned.
Furthermore, the plan from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also leaves the space astronomy program adrift and headed for destruction. The now-orbiting Kepler Telescope will be turned off in midmission, stopping it before it can complete its goal of finding other Earths. Even worse, the magnificent Webb Telescope, the agency’s flagship, which promises fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of the laws of the universe, is not sufficiently funded to allow successful completion. This guarantees further costly delays, with the ensuing budgetary overruns leading inevitably to eventual cancellation.
The ostensible reason for the administration’s decision to kill planetary exploration and space astronomy is budgetary discipline. Yet while federal spending has grown 40 percent since 2008, NASA’s funding has remained virtually the same. It is not NASA that is bankrupting America, but OMB. If the administration needs to cut budgets, it should start with those of the regulatory agencies that are strangling the nation’s businesses rather than NASA, which helps the economy through scientific discoveries, technological innovation and the inspiration of youth to pursue careers in engineering. Furthermore, if there were a need to cut NASA, it would make more sense to trim almost anywhere else in the agency. Instead, the administration’s goal seems to be to destroy the entire space program by hitting it in its most vital parts.
I cannot adequately express my feelings on this forum without likely amassing five bans worth of infractions.
Edited by Phaedrus2129 - 10/27/11 at 7:22am