As an update to the previous blog post on the 12th which talked about potential decreases to the Mars Exploration project, it seems that the predictions about budget cuts to this project have indeed occurred.
The Article from the BBC explained that NASA’s planetary science budget loses 20% of its current 1.5 Billion. Mars exploration, which is a part of that budget is down 39% of what it was originally.
In the last 12 months, NASA has now lost 5 major projects that were in the works
The Lisa Gravitational Wave Observatory
International X Ray Observatory
Europa-Jupiter System Mission
and two ExoMars projects including the Trace Gas Orbiter for 2016 and ExoMars rover in 2018 to say nothing of a human flight to Mars.
We also saw the teetering of the James Web Space Telescope (JWST) this past Summer. That project, which is to be an upgrade to the Hubble Space Telescope has been saved in the meantime, but its budget will now restrict other NASA projects as they face a reduced overall budget.
During the discussion on the JWST, I recall thinking about how we take for granted our Hubble window into the Universe. The incredible vistas of deep space are a relatively recent achievement. Only in the last 20 years has Hubble orbited our planet helping to remind us of our humble place in the Universe; a tiny speck in the grand design. Perspective is important, and if there is anything which has provided us with this universal bird’s eye view, it is the Hubble space telescope. If it were to die without replacement James Webb, we not only loose this perspective, but one of our most advanced research tools.
For now, it would appear that Webb has been saved, but I think of how much more we could enrich our self-awareness as a society, with these other journey’s that we may no longer be taking.
To see the original BBC article visit: