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MarsNews.com :: NewsWire :: Budget :: Archives

October 1, 2013

As Comet ISON sweeps past Mars today, most observations will happen EarthSky
Despite the U.S. government shutdown today, it appears that many planned observations of Comet ISON – as it sweeps dramatically close to the planet Mars today – will happen. NASA has a skeleton crew in support of the six crew members aboard International Space Station (ISS) in place, so presumably they will observe Comet ISON today, as previously announced. Likewise, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE instrument will be turned in Comet ISON’s direction today, according to Anjani Polit, the HiRISE Uplink Lead.
US government shutdown puts Mars rover to sleep The Independent
Just days after the Curiosity rover amazed the scientific community when it found water on Mars, it has been forced in hibernation by the shutdown of the US government. Curiosity will now enter ‘protective mode’ for its own security, according to NASA, and ‘no new data gathering will take place’.

June 20, 2013

With Current Budget, NASA Will Never Get to Mars io9
At today's House hearing for the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, witness Thomas Young was asked how long it would take the Agency to put a human on Mars with its current budget. His response was unambiguous: “Never.” Prepared statements from Young (former executive VP of Lockheed Martin) and co-witness Steven Squyres (Principle Investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission) paint an inauspicious picture of NASA's current standing, and its continued role in humanity's exploration of deep space.

May 15, 2013

Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Doubling NASA’s Budget, Mission To Mars Penny4
The American public overwhelmingly support a doubling of NASA’s budget in order to fund a mission to Mars, according to a recent survey. The poll, commissioned by Explore Mars, a nonprofit organization, and aerospace contractor Boeing, also demonstrated a high degree of enthusiasm about human exploration of Mars. The survey found that 76 percent of Americans agree that NASA’s budget should be increased to 1 percent of the total federal budget to fund initiatives, including a mission to Mars. Currently NASA’s budget represents less than 0.5 percent of overall federal spending. Poll respondents said they think a manned mission to Mars should be the country’s top priority in space exploration. The poll also showed that, in spite of the current budgetary climate, Americans remain very optimistic about the prospect of putting humans on Mars within the next two decades, with 71 percent saying they expect it will happen by 2033.

April 1, 2013

MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration National Geographic
In a new book from National Geographic, celebrated astronaut and bestselling author Buzz Aldrin boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. In MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1017-4; on sale May 7; hardcover), by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, Aldrin lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private industry and international cooperation. In the book, which includes a foreword by Aldrin’s son Andrew, Aldrin makes the case and argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” Aldrin discusses the history of space flight, including a reflective, not nostalgic, look at the people, technologies and steps that were taken to accomplish America’s Apollo moon landings, and plots a course of future exploration. He says “Do not put NASA astronauts on the moon. They have other places to go.” And he emphasizes that the path forward is not a competition; we cannot restart an engine to rerun a race we previously won. This is a controversial notion that causes significant division among astronauts.

March 20, 2013

NASA Passed on Mars Flyby Mission in 1990s U.S.News & World Report
Millionaire entrepreneur Dennis Tito got space enthusiasts excited last month when he announced a project to fly a married couple around Mars in 2018—but NASA may have passed on a similar mission when it was proposed in the late 1990s by a prominent aerospace engineer. According to Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and a prominent advocate for exploration of the red planet, he had meetings with former NASA administrator Daniel Goldin in the late 1990s to pitch him a nearly identical mission to Tito's that would have launched in 2001 and cost the agency about $2 billion. Dubbed Athena, the mission would have used technology that existed in 1996 on a two-year Mars flyby mission. Two astronauts would have orbited the planet for about a year, remotely-controlling rovers on the Martian surface with about 100 times less lag time than rovers controlled from Earth. The spaceship would never land on Mars, which Zubrin contends was Goldin's problem with the mission.

February 21, 2013

Americans Support Humans to Mars The Huffington Post
A new national poll released two weeks ago helped to characterize the level of American support for Mars exploration. In these complex times, are Americans in favor of human exploration of the Mars? The answer is an unequivocal YES. Basically over 70 percent of "the" Americans believe that we should send humans to Mars to explore the planet, and that it is ok to spend up to one percent of the federal budget on NASA (over twice the agency's current budget) to do so.

February 12, 2013

Americans Anticipate Manned Mission to Mars Within 20 Years MarsTravel.org
According to a poll dubbed Mars Generation, Approximately 75% of Americans are excited for and anticipate a manned mission to Mars in the next 20 years, with more than half of American's feeling NASA should "play a strong role" in assisting a commercial company, or head up a mission themselves. In the same poll, conducted by Phillips & Company and sponsored by The Boeing Corporation and Explore Mars, a majority of respondents incorrectly answered that they felt NASA's budget represented 2.5% of the federal budget (~$88.5 Billion). When presented with the reality that NASA's Fiscal Year 2013 budget sits at about .5% ($17.7 Billion) of the federal budget, 75% of those polled felt the Agency's funding should be doubled to 1% ($35.4 Billion) of the federal budget, with the express purpose of funding a manned mission to Mars.

January 18, 2013

NASA Mohawk Guy to Ride With Mars Rover in Obama’s Inaugural Parade Wired
Presidential inaugurations are big deals, and tend to attract high-profile stars like Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen who are eager to rub elbows with the newly inaugurated commander-in-chief. But next week, a very unusual celebrity will be appearing in President Obama’s parade: the NASA scientist known as “Mohawk Guy.” Bobak Ferdowsi, who earned the love and admiration of nerds everywhere as the vertically coiffed activity lead for NASA’s mission to Mars, will be rolling with his fellow scientists in Obama’s inaugural parade on Jan. 21 and a full-scale model of the Curiosity rover that they safely landed on Mars in August of last year, as well as a life-size replica of the new Orion capsule. And in true Ferdowsi fashion, he’s also planning a new haircut for the event – but all he’s saying right now is that it will be a “surprise.”

December 11, 2012

The resurrection of Mars Sample Return The Space Review
There had been rumors for a couple of weeks that NASA would make a big announcement about Mars at one of the largest annual meetings of scientists, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco. The rumors were about the possibility that NASA’s Curiosity rover had discovered something very interesting on Mars. As it turned out, the Curiosity science results, although interesting, were not nearly up to the hype. But NASA did make a major announcement at AGU: NASA is taking the first step towards the ultimate scientific goal for the red planet, Mars Sample Return. You can be forgiven if you missed it, because NASA was careful not to use the words “Mars Sample Return” in their press release. Instead, they announced that they are going to build another rover, based on the successful Curiosity design and using some spare parts manufactured for Curiosity, to be launched in 2020. In the official press release, NASA stated that the instrument suite is still to be determined. But make no mistake, this is the first step toward sample return, and in many ways represents a major reversal for the Obama Administration. To understand what happened, you have to know the context.

December 4, 2012

NASA Announces Robust Multi-Year Mars Program; New Rover to Close Out Decade of New Missions
Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives. "The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s." The planned portfolio includes the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers; two NASA spacecraft and contributions to one European spacecraft currently orbiting Mars; the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere; the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars; and participation in ESA's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, including providing "Electra" telecommunication radios to ESA's 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover.

November 7, 2012

Op/Ed - Obama win should keep NASA's asteroid, Mars plans on course ITworld
No one knows how the federal government's space agency would have fared under a President Romney -- though it's not hard to imagine a smaller budget and more privatized space exploration and research efforts. But the re-election of President Barack Obama on Tuesday likely preserves NASA's current plans, which include sending Americans to Mars by the mid-2030s. The Mars goal is the second part of a two-step mandate from Obama to NASA in 2010, when he directed the agency under a new law to land astronauts on an asteroid near Earth by 2025 and to send a manned mission to orbit Mars about a decade after.

October 2, 2012

ESA May Have Role In NASA Mars Sample Mission Aviation Week & Space Technology
NASA has decided it can do a Mars sample-return mission on its own, but it will continue to collaborate with the European Space Agency on Mars exploration despite dropping out of Europe's ExoMars program last year. Even though Europe has shifted to working with Russia on ExoMars, the program's 2016 orbiter could help provide data and command relays between Earth and a 2018 NASA rover on the surface of Mars. However, it remains to be seen if there will be such a rover, and what it could do if NASA finds the funds to build it. The U.S. space agency has 4-6 months to decide how it will proceed under its reduced Mars-exploration funding plan. That decision will be shaped by a new set of mission options from the agency's Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) instrument landing system, and possibly by congressional signals on fiscal 2013 funding levels for Mars. Also in the mix is the role of potential collaborators outside NASA's Science Mission Directorate, including the European Space Agency (ESA).

September 27, 2012

The Mars Society Launches Major Membership Drive
The Mars Society has launched a new campaign to add 1,000 new members to the organization by December 31st. If you’re not already a member, join us today. Also ask your friends and relatives to consider becoming part of our effort to educate the public, the media and government about the importance of an expanded Mars exploration program and the need for a humans-to-Mars mission in the coming decade.

September 26, 2012

Mars Sample-Return Goal Drives NASA's Exploration of Red Planet
The next steps in NASA's Mars exploration strategy should build toward returning Martian rocks and dirt to Earth to search for signs of past life, a new report by the space agency's Red Planet planning group finds. The report, released September 25th, 2012 by the Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG), lays out a series of options that NASA could employ to get pieces of the Red Planet in scientists' hands here on Earth. The space agency is now mulling those options and could announce its chosen path by early next year, when the White House releases its proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. "The first public release of what plans, you know, we definitively have would not be until the president presents that budget to Congress in February of 2013," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told reporters today.

August 6, 2012

Statement by the President on Curiosity Landing on Mars The White House
Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history. The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination. Tonight’s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best – push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world. I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.

August 5, 2012

Is exploring Mars worth the investment? Los Angeles Times
NASA's Curiosity rover, slated to land next week, is the centerpiece of a $2.5-billion project. Some argue for rolling back spending, but proponents say knowing our celestial neighbor is in the nation's best interest. Saturn has its famous rings and Jupiter is the granddaddy of the solar system, but no planet has entranced earthlings quite like Mars. Humans have launched 40 spacecraft to the Red Planet, lured by the prospect that life might once have existed in what is now dry rocks and sand. The latest machine to make the journey isNASA'sMars Science Laboratory, a hulking, souped-up lab-on-wheels that will plunge toward the Martian surface next week. But even as excitement builds, some wonder: Is Mars exploration a good investment?

February 15, 2012

Op/Ed : Obama Wrecks the Mars Program National Review Online
In its budget submitted to Congress on February 13, the Obama administration zeroed out funding for NASA’s future Mars-exploration missions. The Mars Science Lab Curiosity, currently en route to the Red Planet and the nearly completed small MAVEN orbiter, scheduled for launch in 2013, will be sent, but that’s it. No funding has been provided for the Mars probes planned as joint missions in 2016 and 2018 with the European Space Agency, and nothing after that is funded either. This poses a grave crisis for the American space program. NASA’s Mars-exploration effort has been brilliantly successful because, since 1994, it has been approached as a campaign, with probes launched every two years, alternating between orbiters and landers. As a result, combined operations have been possible, with orbiters providing communication links and reconnaissance guidance for surface rovers, which in turn can conduct investigations on the ground to verify and calibrate orbital observations. Thus, the great treks of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003, were supported from above by Mars Global Surveyor (MGS, launched in1996), Mars Odyssey (launched in 2001), and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO, launched in 2005). But after serving ten years in orbit, MGS is now no longer operating, and if we wait until the 2020s to resume Mars exploration, the rest of the orbiters will be gone as well. Moreover, so will be the experienced teams that created them. Effectively, the whole program will be completely wrecked, and we will have to start again from scratch.

January 31, 2012

How NASA Solved a $100 Million Problem for Five Bucks Gizmodo
A few years ago, back when the Constellation Program was still alive, NASA engineers discovered that the Ares I rocket had a crucial flaw, one that could have jeopardized the entire project. They panicked. They plotted. They steeled themselves for the hundreds of millions of dollars it was going to take to make things right. And then they found out how to fix it for the cost of an extra value meal. The problem facing Ares 1 wasn't a booster malfunction or a computer glitch. It was simple cause-and-effect physics. During the final stages of a launch, as the solid booster rocket burns down it makes the entire vehicle oscillate rapidly. Add that oscillation to the resonant frequency of the large tube that separates the booster and the crew cabin, and you get a crew capsule that vibrates like crazy. When humans are vibrating to that extent, it's impossible for them to read a digital display. If the astronauts can't read, they can't do their jobs. If they can't do their jobs, no more mission.

January 23, 2012

Romney, Gingrich Weigh In On Space Exploration Discovery
The two leading Republican candidates vying to take on President Barack Obama in this year's presidential election turned to the topic of space during a debate last night in Tampa, Fla. "This president has failed miserably the people of Florida," said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "His plans for NASA? He has no plans for NASA. The Space Coast is struggling." Republican challengers Congressman Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum weren't asked about space and didn't bring up the topic during the debate. Gingrich will be meeting Wednesday with leaders on Florida's Space Coast -- the region around Kennedy Space Center that bore the brunt of the layoffs following the retirement of the space shuttles last year.

December 14, 2011

Administration to Announce Decision on Mars Missions in February American Institute of Physics
Members of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics expressed frustration at a hearing last month about what they and a prominent planetary scientist charged was the Obama Administration’s lack of commitment to two missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018. A senior NASA official testified that the Administration’s decision about these missions would be announced with the release of NASA’s FY 2013 budget request in early February. Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) aptly summarized the situation in his opening remarks when he said “The conundrum now facing NASA is selecting a mission that is the next logical step in our exploration of Mars, and how to pay for it.” As is true for many of NASA’s current and future programs, money is largely the limiting factor.

November 7, 2011

Free livestream Women and Mars conference ExploreMars.org

The Women and Mars Conference is just a few days away.
Register today at www.womenandmars.eventbrite.com.
You don’t want to miss this conference – see the updated conference agenda

Explore Mars is also pleased to announce that NASA has arranged for the Women and Mars Conference to be webcasted, freely available to anyone. ”We hope that as many people as possible will come to the conference as possible, since it will be a great event,” commented Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry. “However, for those who can’t be there in person, this webcasting will allow everyone to view the conference from anywhere in the world. We know for a fact that a group of women working at ESTEC in the Netherlands, will participate in the conference in this way”

For those interested to viewing the Women and Mars Conference online, please visit the LiveStream link at - http://www.livestream.com/exploremars

September 14, 2011

A Call on Mars Society Members to Submit Questions for GOP Debate
The Republican presidential candidates will convene in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, September 22nd at 9:00 p.m. EST to participate in the FOX News/Google Debate. The two companies have invited members of the public to submit questions for the chance to have them asked live during the political forum. The Mars Society is calling on its members and friends to submit questions with a Mars-related theme for the GOP presidential debate. For example, “"Will your administration ensure the U.S. resumes a destination driven space program which results in sending Americans to Mars?" Please take advantage of this opportunity to submit your questions in video or text form at www.youtube.com/foxnews and vote on others that you would like to hear asked live of the candidates. Those submitting questions must have a current YouTube account.

April 18, 2011

Private Spaceship Builders Split Nearly $270 Million in NASA Funds
NASA has tapped four private companies to receive grants totaling $269.3 million to spur the development of new commercial spaceships and rockets capable of launching astronauts on trips to the International Space Station. The announcement today (April 18) concerned the second round of funding awards for NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, which aims to stimulate growth within the private sector to develop and demonstrate viable human spaceflight capabilities. The Space Act Agreements between NASA and the four companies will begin this month and run until May 2012. [The Best Spaceships of All Time]

September 30, 2010

Mars, Here We Come! Congress Approves $19 Billion NASA Budget FOX News
Congress passed a vital NASA authorization bill late Wednesday, paving the way for an extra space shuttle flight next year and a new human spaceflight plan that takes aim at missions to an asteroid -- and ultimately even to Mars. The NASA authorization bill approved by the House includes a $19 billion budget in 2011 for the U.S. space agency, and a total of $58 billion through 2013. It paves the way for several NASA projects, among them a new heavy-lift rocket for deep space missions and funding to aid the development of commercial space vehicles for eventual NASA use.

June 28, 2010

Fact Sheet: The National Space Policy The White House
Today, President Obama announced the administration’s new National Space Policy. The National Space Policy expresses the President’s direction for the Nation’s space activities. The policy articulates the President’s commitment to reinvigorating U.S. leadership in space for the purposes of maintaining space as a stable and productive environment for the peaceful use of all nations. The United States will advance a bold new approach to space exploration. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will engage in a program of human and robotic exploration of the solar system, develop new and transformative technologies for more affordable human exploration beyond the Earth, seek partnerships with the private sector to enable commercial spaceflight capabilities for the transport of crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station, and begin human missions to new destinations by 2025.

June 9, 2010

For Mission to Mars, a New Road Map New York Times
“Game-changing” and “affordable” are perhaps the most repeated adjectives spoken by NASA officials in the last few months. The premise underlying President Obama’s proposed space policy is that development of new space technologies can speed space exploration at lower costs. But skeptics in Congress counter that NASA has provided too few details to convince them that they should largely throw away the $10 billion that has been spent so far in NASA’s Constellation moon program and spend billions more on something new. At a workshop last month in Galveston, members of NASA study teams looking at how to put in effect the Obama policy presented their current thinking to 450 attendees from industry and academia. The NASA presenters, in describing how the space agency could make it to Mars on a limited budget, said their ideas represented “a point of departure” that would be revised with feedback.

April 29, 2010

Broadcast 1352 (Special Edition) - Guest: Dr. Robert Zubrin The Space Show
Topics: Human spaceflight, US space policy, Mars. Dr. Robert Zubrin was our guest for this non-stop two hour program to discuss the proposed changes in US space policy and why having a destination is so important for our national space program. For more information, visit The Mars Society website at www.marssociety.org. Note the coming Mars Society Conference which Dr. Zubrin told us about, scheduled for Dayton, Ohio from August 5-8, 2010. Dr. Zubrin started our discussion saying that we could go to Mars in about ten years as technology was not the issue. I then asked why even have a human spaceflight program and why Mars. Bob provided us with a comprehensive response and discussion to both of these questions. In fact, this nearly two hour discussion was action packed, covered lots of aspects of space policy, was very comprehensive, and while he was critical of administration policy, he also offered solutions to the problems he described. During our discussion, Dr. Zubrin had much to say about the Augustine Commission findings, Science Advisor John Holdren, the budget expenses earmarked for the ISS when the US will not be visiting the ISS except using the Soyuz, and more. Listeners asked him about nuclear rockets, specifically Vasimr. Dr. Zubrin who has his doctorate in nuclear engineering, had much to say about nuclear rocket propulsion including Vasimr and nuclear thermal which is quite different. Listen to what he had to say about these different types of propulsion and why one is doable and one is extremely hard and costly since it requires so much added power, the latter being VASIMIR. Dr. Zubrin dissected the administration plan, especially the part about heavy lift. Listeners suggested that the research called for in the administration plan for heavy lift was about getting affordable heavy lift. Listen carefully to what Dr. Zubrin had to say about this and the entire research program suggested in the administration plan. Bob went to great lengths to talk about why policy needs a destination and time line, be it the Moon, a NEO, or Mars. He offered us many insights about programs without destination goals and timelines. Do you agree with him? Other listeners asked him many questions about Mars Direct including a potential test flight program, tethers, artificial gravity, and needed milestones. He was asked about a Mars fly by mission or landing on Phobos, he talked about orbital propellant depots, the differences in radiation for an ISS crew as compared to a Mars Direct crew. Toward the end of the program, Bob explained the old but important political doctrine of Thomas Malthus known as Malthusianism and why this is the opposite of what space development is all about. Listen to what Dr. Zubrin had to say about this and its influence in the current administration. At the end of the program, I asked him for his thoughts on the use of commercial launch providers and he said he was supportive of that as long as they can meet the requirements and do it. He indirectly referenced the GAP in this discussion but again said a program without destinations and time frames is a flawed or no program at all.

April 15, 2010

Obama sets Mars goal for America
Barack Obama says it should be possible to send astronauts to orbit the planet Mars by the mid-2030s and return them safely to Earth. The US president made the claim in a major speech to staff at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He was laying out the details of his new policy for the US space agency. Mr Obama said he was giving NASA challenging goals and the funding needed to achieve them, including an extra $6bn over the next five years. "By 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the Moon into deep space," the President said. "So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history." And then he added: "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth, and a landing on Mars will follow."

April 14, 2010

Obama to outline vision for space program despite astronaut criticism The Sydney Morning Herald
Barack Obama is set to promote his vision for the nation's human space flight program - including putting a human on Mars - just two days after three Apollo astronauts called the new plans ''devastating''. In an announcement to be made at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida today, the President will talk for the first time about the upheaval of NASA's human spaceflight program outlined in his 2011 budget request in February. It involved cancelling plans to return astronauts to the moon, investing in commercial companies to provide transport to orbit and developing new space technologies. A senior administration official said Mr Obama would describe a vision ''that unlocks our ambitions and expands our frontiers in space, ultimately meaning the challenge of sending humans to Mars''.
NASA Gets a $6 Billion Booster for Mars and Beyond Fast Company
Find hope in this, NASA, science and Mars fans: President Obama's new stance on NASA's funding will likely pump no less than $6 billion into the agency to create a new heavy rocket sooner than we'd hoped. Mars is its target. Over the previous few weeks we've heard rumors about what NASA's future might look like. All of them seemed attractive compared to the grim reality we'd assumed would happen: The Space Shuttle grounded, the Constellation moonshot program canceled, big delays in getting private space ventures ready to fire humans into space, and huge job losses in NASA and its supporting industries. Now there's word that during a big space event tomorrow, Obama will unveil a new vision that includes $6 billion of extra cash for the space agency, on top of its original budget plans, phased over five years. This money has very specific purposes: Firstly it's going to create 2,500 additional jobs in and around NASA's Florida installations, and secondly it'll result in a new large rocket that'll be key in taking humans to Mars. Spin-off work will include continuing to develop the Orion manned space capsule to act as an emergency escape vehicle for the international space station.

April 13, 2010

Obama to unveil plans for Mars shot The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
United States president Barack Obama is set to unveil plans to create 2,500 more space jobs and select a design for a rocket to fire astronauts into deep space by 2015, The Washington Post reports. Mr Obama will deliver what has been billed as a "major space policy speech" outlining the new future for US space exploration when he addresses astronauts, space workers and lawmakers on Thursday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. His address comes after budget proposals in February revealed plans to axe the expensive and over-budgeted Constellation rocket project, a move that fuelled a storm of criticism from lawmakers and space enthusiasts. But the Post reported on its website that Mr Obama's speech would seek to soothe critics and provide more specific details of plans to recreate NASA's human space exploration program in what a White House official said amounted to a "bold and daring" vision.
NASA: Next stop Mars? Network World
There's lots of pressure and some speculation that President Obama will throw some sort of manned space flight bone in the direction of NASA when he addresses the space agency's future plans this week at a Kennedy Space Center address. What that may be could come in the form of a formal challenge to NASA to make a manned space flight to Mars in say 10 to 15 years a priority. If that were the challenge it would take quite the effort as most of the equipment needed to make such a trip is largely undeveloped.
Obama Plans ‘Major Space Policy Speech’ From Space Coast Central Florida News 13
Obama is expected to arrive on the Space Coast at 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Then, at 3 p.m., NASA said the president will make what he called a “major space policy speech.” After the speech, a panel discussion with experts on the space program is scheduled.
Thousands Attend Save Space Rally Central Florida News 13
Thousands rallied in support of jobs on the Space Coast Sunday afternoon. Astronauts, NASA workers, politicians and business owners gathered at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center to have their voices heard at the Save Space Rally. "We saw the Apollo launches shake our windows," said Sarah Larson. "We have our roots here our hearts here. people would say where is Titusville, Florida and it's the space capital of the world and we want to keep it that." Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is set to visit the Space Coast Thursday to outline his plan for NASA.

March 21, 2010

Room for Debate: Where, If Anywhere, Is NASA Headed? Scientific American
On complex issues, as is often said, it is possible for intelligent people to disagree. That was certainly the case March 15 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, when five leaders of the space exploration intelligentsia met to discuss NASA's plans for human spaceflight. The topic of the event, the 10th annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, could hardly have been more timely, given the February budget request from President Obama that sought to drastically change NASA's direction for human spaceflight and the way the agency does that business. If the budget survives Congress, NASA could start hiring private corporations to launch U.S. astronauts into orbit rather than use its own hardware; Obama's plan would also scrap the existing Constellation Program, including the Ares rockets being developed to lift humans beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the 1970s.
Sen. Nelson Floats Alternate Use for NASA Commercial Crew Money Space News
As the Senate Commerce Committee begins work on a 2010 NASA authorization bill, science and space subcommittee chairman Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is questioning whether $6 billion the U.S. space agency is seeking for developing a commercial crew taxis might be better spent on a heavy-lift rocket that could take humans beyond low Earth orbit. Nelson told a NASA Kennedy Space Center-area audience March 19 that he expects U.S. President Barack Obama to “revamp his budget” and set specific goals for the nation’s human spaceflight program when he visits Florida April 15 to talk space.

March 17, 2010

Moon vs. Mars at Museum ScienceInsider
The American Museum of Natural History had little idea of how prescient they were being when they picked the theme for this year's Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. Shortly after the museum directors decided on the debate topic, "The Moon, Mars and Beyond: Where Next for the Manned Space Program?", the federal budget was announced on 1 February, revealing that NASA's Constellation project of crewed moon missions had been canceled. Kicking off the annual event last night to a sold-out auditorium, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "What was originally just going to be us putting out opinions now turns out to have huge implications." Although moon and Mars missions are often discussed as if they were mutually exclusive alternatives, general consensus among the scientists on the panel was that even if putting a human on Mars were the paramount long-term goal, returning humans to the moon would still be a critical step toward that end. "The moon is a good place to test out the technology for a Mars mission, like life-support systems and transport vehicles. ... I think that casting it in terms of 'Do we go to the moon first or go to Mars?' is not the right question," Steven Squyres, principal investigator on the Mars Exploration Rover project, said after the debate. Instead, the broader question to which the panelists kept returning was not simply which destination NASA should target first but what will happen if NASA has no clear destination at all.

March 8, 2010

President Obama to Host Space Conference in Florida in April The White House
On April 15, President Barack Obama will visit Florida to host a White House Conference on the Administration’s new vision for America’s future in space, the White House today announced. The President, along with top officials and other space leaders, will discuss the new course the Administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight. Specifically, the conference will focus on the goals and strategies in this new vision, the next steps, and the new technologies, new jobs, and new industries it will create. Conference topics will include the implications of the new strategy for Florida, the nation, and our ultimate activities in space.

March 3, 2010

NASA turned on by blow-up space stations NewScientist
NASA is planning to investigate making inflatable space-station modules to make roomier, lighter, cheaper-to-launch spacecraft, it reveals in its budget proposal released on 22 February. The agency is considering connecting a Bigelow expandable craft to the ISS to verify their safety by testing life support, radiation shielding, thermal control and communications capabilities.

February 24, 2010

Senators to NASA chief: Go somewhere specific Washington Post
NASA needs to go somewhere specific, not just talk about it, skeptical U.S. senators told the space agency chief Wednesday. President Barack Obama's proposed budget kills the previous administration's return-to-the-moon mission, sometimes nicknamed "Apollo on steroids." That leaves the space agency adrift without a goal or destination, senators and outside experts said at a Senate Commerce science and space subcommittee hearing, the first since Obama unveiled his new space plan this month. On top of that the nation's space shuttle fleet is only months away from long-planned retirement, an issue for senators from Florida, where NASA is a major employer. And while the new NASA plan includes extra money - $6 billion over five years - for private spaceships and developing new rocket technology, NASA shouldn't be just about spending, the senators said. It should be about John F. Kennedy-like vision.

February 19, 2010

NASA Putting Mars Rover To Sleep To Save Money Jalopnik
Although it might seem like a headline from The Onion, the story's actually true. NASA's being forced to cut four million dollars from the Mars rover project. In order to meet that requirement, they'll have to put one rover, Spirit, to sleep — a "hibernation" period. The team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) will also have to put the other rover, Opportunity, on a diminished work cycle. But in actuality, they won't be cutting what Opportunity's doing — they'll just be spreading it out over a longer period of time.

February 17, 2010

NASA chief: Mars is our mission
NASA's emerging exploration plan will call for safely sending humans to Mars, possibly by the 2030s, and de-emphasize exploration of the moon, the agency's leader said Tuesday. “That is my personal vision,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “I am confident that, when I say humans on Mars is a goal for the nation, not just NASA, I'm saying that because I believe the president will back me up.” Bolden cited appearances set before congressional committees on Feb. 24 and 25 as a deadline for creating the “beginnings of a plan” for human exploration. At those hearings, Bolden said, he will be able only to give a range of dates for a Mars trip because scientific questions, such as mitigating radiation exposure and bone loss, remain unanswered. But he confidently said the 2030s, even the early 2030s, were viable if given a reasonable and sustained budget.

February 4, 2010

Obama Gazes Past the Moon to Mars TechNewsWorld
President Obama has decided to abandon plans to return to the moon and focus on a much more ambitious effort -- a manned trip to Mars -- instead. A return to the moon would have been possible within this decade, but going to Mars will require cooperation among space-faring nations and is likely 30 years, give or take, into the future. The president's new budget request provides US$3 billion over five years for "robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for later human exploration of the moon, Mars and nearby asteroids," Bolden explained. "These missions will inform us of the most interesting places to explore with humans, and validate our approaches to get them there safely and sustainably." Also included in the proposed $3.8 trillion budget are funds for developing new engines, propellants, materials and combustion processes, as well as cross-cutting technologies such as communications, sensors and robotics, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said.

February 3, 2010

NASA Plans Manned Missions To Mars InformationWeek
Defending a budget that effectively cancels a program that would have returned humans to the moon by 2020, NASA's top official said the space agency is looking beyond the lunar surface—to Mars. In a statement, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden noted that the $3.8 trillion federal budget proposal handed down earlier this week by President Obama provides $3 billion over five years in funds "for robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for human exploration of the moon, Mars, and nearby asteroids." Bolden said robotic exploration is an essential precondition for manned missions to Earth's closest celestial neighbors. "These missions will inform us of the most interesting places to explore with humans, and validate our approaches to get them there safely and sustainably," said Bolton.

February 2, 2010

Private spaceflight goes public
"Apollo on steroids"? Forget about it. Back to the moon? Not anytime soon. NASA's new vision for space exploration is less specific on a destination, but more focused on making room for new technologies and new players in spaceflight. Some critics in Congress say they'll fight to keep some elements of the moon plan in place - but one of the most influential critics says it would be "very difficult" to change NASA's new course. In its budget request, released today, the White House is seeking $19 billion for the space agency during fiscal 2011, which is a slight increase from the current fiscal year's $18.7 billion. But over the next five years, NASA says it will have $6 billion more than previously planned, with most of that going to support technology development and commercialization. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters that the increase represented "an extraordinary show of support in these tough budgetary times."

January 27, 2010

NASA may abandon plans for moon base New Scientist
NASA will probably not build an outpost on the moon as originally planned, the agency's acting administrator, Chris Scolese, told lawmakers on Wednesday. His comments also hinted that the agency is open to putting more emphasis on human missions to destinations like Mars or a near-Earth asteroid. NASA has been working towards returning astronauts to the moon by 2020 and building a permanent base there. But some space analysts and advocacy groups like the Planetary Society have urged the agency to cancel plans for a permanent moon base, carry out shorter moon missions instead, and focus on getting astronauts to Mars.
Sources: Obama won't give NASA $ 1 billion budget boost Cape Canaveral Space Program Examiner
On the seven year anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, the Obama administration will unveil NASA’s budget. According to inside sources the president has decided not to include a $ 1 billion boost to the space agency. As NASA struggles to accomplish the tenets of the Vision for Space Exploration this further lack of funding will at best only further delay plans to return astronauts to the moon before pushing on to Mars. The Augustine Commission in its report to the president stated that NASA could not develop the Ares I rocket, which would be used to carry the crew into orbit. To adequately do so would require the funding that NASA had been promised – but later denied. Alongside the Ares I there would also be developed the heavy-lift capable Ares V – which would be used to hoist key flight hardware, lunar landers and the necessary upper-stage. With this shortfall in funding the fate of both vehicles is placed into doubt.
NASA Budget Request Expected to Realign U.S. Spaceflight Goals
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will unveil the U.S. space agency's spending priorities for 2011 during a Feb. 1 announcement at NASA headquarters here, according to administration officials. President Barack Obama's 2011 budget request is expected to realign NASA's human spaceflight activities and investments to foster development of commercial systems capable of ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station. The request is not expected to include a much-sought after billion-dollar boost to aid NASA's funding-hampered human spaceflight efforts. NASA currently plans to retire its three aging space shuttles this year after five more missions. But plans to use the shuttle fleet's replacement – NASA's new Ares rockets and their Orion crew vehicles – for an eventual return to the moon are still in flux.

December 22, 2009

Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget ScienceInsider
President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency’s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft. According to knowledgeable sources, the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018. Meanwhile, European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base, saving the U.S. several billion dollars. And commercial companies would take over the job of getting supplies to the international space station.

December 17, 2009

House speaker questions more NASA funding, Mars trip FLORIDA TODAY
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised questions Wednesday about boosting NASA funding, in competition with other budget priorities, and pursuing a Mars trip. The California Democrat also said any boost in funding, as recommended by a recent commission, would have to be measured against other priorities to create jobs. “I, myself, if you are asking me personally, I have not been a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space, in terms of safety and cost,” Pelosi told reporters a roundtable on legislative accomplishments this year. “But people could make the case; technology is always changing.” President Barack Obama, who met Wednesday with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, is weighing how to support the agency. A recent report from the U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Commission recommended phasing in a $3 billion boost in funding in order to pursue spaceflight safely, but Obama hasn’t signaled what suggestions he will adopt.

October 28, 2009

Official Mars Society Statement Regarding Augustine Commission Report
The recently released report from the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (AKA: The Augustine Commission), Seeking a Human Space Program Worthy of a Great Nation, states that "A human landing and extended human presence on Mars stand prominently above all other opportunities for exploration. Mars is unquestionably the most scientifically interesting destination in the inner solar system. It possesses resources which can be used for life support and propellants. If humans are ever to live for long periods with intention of extended settlement on another planetary surface, it is likely to be on Mars." The Mars Society is in perfect agreement with this statement and we hope that NASA will pursue a program that will realize this goal as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, the Augustine Commission report then goes on to state that we are not ready to go to Mars with current technology and we can go nowhere in the next decade, even with the expenditure of over a hundred billion dollars. While challenging, sending humans to Mars is possible with current technological expertise and we could have humans on Mars in the 2020s.

October 22, 2009

Panel Urges $3 Billion More Per Year to Go to Moon, Mars
To get to the moon and then eventually go on to Mars will take much more money and technology than the U.S. space program has now, according to a report released today by an independent panel convened, at White House request, under former aerospace executive Norman Augustine. The Augustine Commission made several recommendations today for NASA:

August 19, 2009

Tight budget quashes US space ambitions: panel
US ambitions for manned space exploration have hit a major hurdle in the wake of severe budget constraints, according to preliminary findings of a panel appointed by President Barack Obama. Reaching Mars was deemed too risky while returning to the Moon by 2020 was ruled out barring an additional three billion dollars per year to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet and build bigger rockets, according to the group led by Norm Augustine, a former CEO of US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. "Really, we've given the White House a dilemma. The space program we have today, the human space flight program, really isn't executable with the money we have," Augustine told PBS public television last week.

August 17, 2009

VOTE: NASA's budget focus: Moon, Mars, or ISS? CNET
If you had to choose the subject of NASA's attention over the next decade, what would you pick? Would you want to push the space agency to go back to the moon? Would you want it to devote its budget toward a human mission to Mars? The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, a panel ordered to chart the future of the U.S. space program, is trying to narrow those possibilities. So far, the group has come up with several ideas for how NASA should focus its resources.

July 9, 2009

NASA experts scale back moon and Mars plans in face of Obama funding cut fears Telegraph
Forty years after astronauts first walked on the moon, NASA, the US space agency, is officially committed to a $35 billion (£22 billion) plan instituted by President George W. Bush to build the first of a new generation of manned rockets that can return to the planet by 2020. However, the new president has appointed an independent panel to review America's costly manned space programme, called Constellation, and make recommendations by the end of August. With NASA engineers now floating cut-rate rocket alternatives, some politicians and former astronauts fear that the 2020 deadline will be foiled by financial constraints.

June 10, 2009

Lawmakers Slash $670 Million From NASA Budget Request
In a move that reflects the uncertainty surrounding NASA's current strategy for replacing the space shuttle and returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020, House appropriators slashed by 16 percent the space agency's $4 billion request for manned space exploration in 2010. The proposed legislation, marked up June 4 by the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee, trims $483 million overall from U.S. President Barack Obama's $18.7 billion budget request for NASA next year. The $670 million cut to the 2010 manned exploration request would leave $3.21 billion, which is less than is available for the effort this year.

January 13, 2009

Wanted! Your Views On America's Space Program Goals
It's time to put your 21st century thinking cap because you've been invited to take part in a new study into why the U.S. has a space program. The new study "Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program" is looking for the public's view on the following questions: What's the future of human, robotic, commercial, and personal spaceflight? Is your life impacted in a meaningful way by the space program? What kind of emphasis should the space program represent in going forward? How can the country's civil, or non-military, space program address key national issues? Views - positive or negative - of the general public are welcomed. This study is sponsored exclusively by The National Academies, and it is not receiving any funds from government agencies or any other external sources. The assessment is a joint effort of the Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.

December 12, 2008

Does Obama Want to Ground NASA's Next Moon Mission? Time
Getting into a shouting match with the HR rep is not exactly the best way to land a job. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, that's just what happened last week between NASA administrator Mike Griffin and Lori Garver, a member of Barack Obama's transition team who will help decide if Griffin keeps his post once the President-elect takes office. If the contretemps did occur, it could help doom not only the NASA chief's chances, but the space agency's ambitious plans to get Americans back to the moon.

October 1, 2008

Presidential candidates promising NASA the moon and Mars Cleveland Live
With the fortunes of Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center now heavily tied to President Bush’s plan to send astronauts to the moon and Mars, the upcoming election has the center’s employees and supporters watching for hints of the direction either candidate might take the nation’s space program. So far, both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have staked out positions that sound hopeful for the once-faltering Glenn center, and for the overall American space effort. In unusual detail for a presidential campaign, each candidate has pledged support for the moon- Mars exploration goal. Obama and McCain have promised, in principle, to provide the billions it will take to build new spacecraft, establish a permanent moon base, and propel astronauts to the rusty, intriguing surface of Mars.

August 18, 2008

Obama: Let's go to moon, and maybe Mars Orlando Sentinel
Sen. Barack Obama released a comprehensive space policy Saturday that endorsed sending astronauts back to the moon by 2020 as a possible precursor for going to Mars -- the first time he has committed to that goal -- and said the reach for the stars should be a U.S.-led international effort. "Human exploration beyond low-earth orbit should be a long-term goal and investment for all space-faring countries, with America in the lead," the policy paper said. The paper promises funding for an additional flight after the space shuttle's planned retirement in 2010 and to "expedite" development of a successor. But beyond promising funding to "minimize" the gap until a new rocket flies -- now not scheduled until 2015 -- the plan makes no specific financial commitment.
Brevard banking on space promises
When Sen. John McCain comes to the Space Coast on Monday, he might not realize that his visit resulted from a year-long effort by members of the aerospace industry in Brevard County. Facing a loss of thousands of jobs when the space shuttle stops flying in 2010, county leaders last year mounted a far-reaching lobbying effort and used all their political contacts to elevate the future of America's human space flight program to a national issue. The diligence has begun to pay off, as both presidential candidates have made promises that Floridians plan to make sure they keep.

August 12, 2008

Debate To Highlight Candidates' Views On Space Exploration InformationWeek
Senators John McCain and Barack Obama will send representatives to a space policy debate this week. The presidential candidates' representatives will meet Thursday to discuss how their administrations will fund, prioritize, and advance space policy over the next several years. "This will be a perfect opportunity for the campaigns to articulate their policies," Mars Society Executive Director Chris Carberry said in an announcement. "The next president will be in a unique position to move the space program forward. Space policy could also be key in the election; many of the 'space states' are too close to call in recent polls." McCain will send Apollo VII astronaut Walt Cunningham and Obama will send former NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver to speak on the candidates' behalf. The Mars Society will host the debate at the University Memorial Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Attendance is free and the event is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserved seating is available for groups. The debate will take place during the 11th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which begins Thursday and ends Aug. 17. During the convention, industry leaders will review the latest developments from the Phoenix Mars Lander and recent data from the Cassini-Huygens mission orbiting Saturn.

July 29, 2008

NASA turns 50 today Scientific American
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established 50 years ago today by the aptly named National Aeronautics and Space Act. NASA began operations on October 1, 1958, with a staff of 80 spread among four laboratories. The agency now consists of 15 facilities that employed more than 17,000 people in 2006, according to Best Places to Work. The agency's mission statement since 2006 has been "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research."

May 3, 2008

Raw Politics: Candidates and the space race
One issue the presidential candidates are not saying much about is space exploration. But some scientists, military experts and intelligence analysts say the next president may well determine whether America keeps an edge in space. Last year, the United States managed 16 space launches; Russia had 22; China blasted off 10. Their space program is still behind, says Robert Zubrin, one of America's strongest proponents for Mars travel, but it is rocketing.

November 22, 2007

Review: Mars Wars The Space Review
Next January will mark the fourth anniversary of President George W. Bush’s speech at NASA Headquarters that unveiled the Vision for Space Exploration, the long-term plan that gave the space agency a new direction, away from the space shuttle and space station and towards a human return to the Moon and, eventually, human missions to Mars. At that time the announcement drew comparisons to the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), the last major effort by a president to reshape the direction of NASA, with corresponding concerns that the Vision would meet a similar, unfortunate fate. Yet the Vision is alive and well today (despite some concerns about its implementation), while SEI had effectively been dead long before it could reach its fourth anniversary. What caused SEI to fail, and what lessons did its failure provide future initiatives, like the Vision? These are questions explored in depth by Thor Hogan’s history of SEI, Mars Wars. The book (which can be ordered for $15 from NASA’s web site or read online for free) is, at its core, a thorough history of the SEI.

June 23, 2007

Mars Is Under Attack! It Is Time For The Mars Society To Mobilize To Save Human Missions To Mars!
Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science recommended an increase of over $280 million above the requested level for NASA. However, within this budget markup, there is language that would prevent work on programs devoted to humans to Mars. According to a House Appropriations Committee press release, the markup language states that NASA cannot pursue “development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests." THIS ANTI-MARS LANGUAGE MUST BE REMOVED! Otherwise, the program may turn into MOON ONLY program. We can't let that happen.

February 17, 2006

Griffin defends science budget
The choice to reduce science spending by $2 billion over the next five years is a last resort, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin told concerned members of Congress on Thursday. But it's a necessary sacrifice to make sure the shuttles can safely fly enough missions to finish building the International Space Station before retirement in 2010, he said. The space agency delayed or canceled science projects only after making equally painful cuts -- about $1.5 billion worth -- to early work on new rockets, spaceships and other technology necessary to send astronauts back to the moon. One result of those cuts: the proposed shuttle replacement, called the Crew Exploration Vehicle, may not be ready to fly astronauts until 2013 or 2014 rather than two years earlier as Griffin once hoped.

September 15, 2005

Senate Approves $16.4 Billion Budget for NASA
The U.S. Senate approved a $200 million budget increase for NASA Thursday, giving the U.S. space agency most of the funding it needs to get started on a new lunar exploration plan to be unveiled Monday. The NASA funding was approved as part of a $48.9 billion spending bill that also funds the Justice and Commerce Departments. Of that amount, NASA would receive $16.4 billion for 2006, about $60 million less than the agency requested but $200 million more than it had to spend this year.

July 23, 2005

House Endorses NASA Missions to Moon, Mars
The House Friday overwhelmingly endorsed President Bush's vision to send man back to the moon and eventually on to Mars as it passed a bill to set NASA policy for the next two years. The bill passed 383-15 after a collegial debate in which lawmakers stressed their commitment to not just Bush's ambitious space exploration plans but also to traditional NASA programs such as science and aeronautics.

July 7, 2005

Griffin: NASA will keep focused on moon, Mars Galveston Daily News
Michael Griffin didnt mind it too much when U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay called him a space nerd. In fact, the new head of NASA seemed to relish in the nickname given to him last month on his first official visit to the Johnson Space Center. Just two months into his job as NASA administrator, Griffin has already made his mark. Management shake-ups have come quickly at the agency, which is often slow to change.

July 5, 2005

Space proposal looks positive for Michoud, Stennis 2theadvocate.com
Things are looking up again at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans after a tumultuous 2 years. The future of the 832-acre production plant and its 2,100 employees looked bleak after the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry in February 2003.

March 12, 2005

NASA Mars Program Under Scrutiny
NASAs Mars program could undergo major alternation, driven by budgetary and technical issues, as well as science goals. Weve been getting inputs, advice, actions itemsfrom the road mapping teams, said Doug McCuistion, Mars Exploration Program Director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nothing is finalized at this point. There have been no final decisions made or, frankly, any interim decisions made as yet.

February 7, 2005

Proposed NASA budget would keep projects moving forward Orlando Sentinel
President Bush proposed a $16.45 billion budget for NASA in 2006 this morning, a 2.4 percent increase over 2005's. The budget includes more than $4.5 billion for the space shuttle program, an increase of $366 million, mostly to cover the costs of the effort required to return the fleet to orbit this spring.
NASA 2006 Budget Presented: Hubble, Nuclear Initiative Suffer
While NASA fared better than many federal agencies in U.S. President George W. Bush's 2006 budget request, the White House is not seeking as much money for the U.S. space agency as previously planned. The White House is seeking $16.45 billion for NASA in the 2006 budget. That's an increase of 2.4 percent over what the U.S. space agency has in its 2005 budget, but still about $500 million less than what the agency had been expecting.

December 6, 2004

DeLay's Push Helps Deliver NASA Funds Washington Post
Without a separate vote or even a debate, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has managed to deliver to a delighted NASA enough money to forge ahead on a plan that would reshape U.S. space policy for decades to come. President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration," which would send humans to the moon and eventually to Mars, got a skeptical reception in January and was left for dead in midsummer, but it made a stunning last-minute comeback when DeLay delivered NASA's full $16.2 billion budget request as part of the omnibus $388 billion spending bill passed Nov. 20, 2004

November 30, 2004

The Lame Duck that Soared Tech Central Station
When the history of this lame duck Congress is written, historians may make little notes about the dustup over intelligence reform. However, their long memories are likely to record that, by funding the President's space initiative, this was a lame duck that soared. The $16.2 billion that Congress authorized for NASA, a five percent increase in its budget, made it official that mankind is headed outwards again -- to the moon, to Mars, and beyond. The House also passed a revised commercial space bill, which just a short time ago, was pronounced deader than Tom Daschle's political career.

November 23, 2004

NASA moves ahead on Bush's plan to return to moon, Mars Knight Ridder Newspapers
With a green light from Congress, NASA is moving swiftly to carry out President Bush's ambitious plan to return robots and humans to the moon and eventually to Mars. The United States is also seeking foreign partners for the hugely expensive project, hoping to save money and avoid wasteful duplication. Space officials from 17 countries, including China, Russia, Japan and much of Europe, participated in a planning workshop in Washington last week. Representatives from each nation said they intend to participate in at least the planning phase.
Op/Ed: NASA's Moon-Mars Initiative Jeopardizes Important Science Opportunities American Physical Society
Shifting NASA priorities toward risky, expensive missions to the moon and Mars will mean neglecting the most promising space science efforts, states the American Physical Society (APS) Special Committee on NASA Funding for Astrophysics, in a report released today. The committee points out that the total cost of NASA's ill-defined Moon-Mars initiative is unknown as yet, but is likely to be a substantial drain on NASA resources. As currently envisioned, the initiative will rely on human astronauts who will establish a base on the moon and subsequently travel to Mars. The program is in contrast to recent, highly successful NASA missions, including the Hubble Space telescope, the Mars Rover, and Explorer missions, which have revolutionized our understanding of the universe while relying on comparatively cheap, unmanned and robotic instruments. It is likely that such programs will have to be scaled back or eliminated in the wake of much more expensive and dangerous manned space exploration, according to the committee.

November 17, 2004

Op/Ed: Moon-Mars money
The moon-Mars mission proposed by President Bush in January -- one we have strongly supported as the key to unimaginable technological progress -- is in danger of starvation in Congress. That should be ringing alarm bells for the entire Florida delegation, including Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson and Bob Graham, and local GOP Representatives Dave Weldon and Tom Feeney. With the short lame-duck session under way this week, they and their state colleagues must get to work to make sure NASA is assured all the money needed to get the potentially historic venture under way.

October 21, 2004

Dittmar Associates' Market Study for the Space Exploration Program Dittmar Associates
On the eve of the Presidential election, Americans continue to support human space flight and endorse the Space Exploration plan to return to the Moon and to Mars, but they also question the relationship of NASA to its constituents. A comprehensive, in-depth study by Dittmar Associates aimed at understanding public perceptions of NASA and particularly the Space Exploration Program reveals that Americans continue to support human space flight, with 69% supporting Space Exploration and 26% opposed.

September 27, 2004

New $50 Million Prize for Private Orbiting Spacecraft
While a team of aerospace engineers takes aim this week on the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition for privately developed suborbital spaceflight, a Nevada millionaire is planning an even loftier contest. Robert Bigelow, chief of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, is apparently setting higher goals for private spaceflight endeavors with America's Space Prize, a $50 million race to build an orbital vehicle capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to an orbital outpost by the end of the decade, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology. Bigelow told Aviation Week that not only would Space Prize winners secure the $50 million purse, half of which he's putting up himself, but also snag options to service inflatable space habitats under development by Bigelow Aerospace.
Bigelow's Gamble Aviation Week & Space Technology
The Bigelow Aerospace project to privately develop inflatable Earth-orbit space modules is beginning to integrate diverse U.S. and European technologies into subscale and full-scale inflatable test modules and subsystems at the company's heavily guarded facilities here. While much public attention is focused on the massive International Space Station (ISS), Bigelow has quietly become a mini-Skunk Works for the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Ongoing technical assistance to Bigelow from JSC is focused on helping the company spawn development of orbiting commercial inflatable modules by the end of the decade, with the possibility of JSC later using the Bigelow technology for inflatable modules on the Moon or Mars.

September 10, 2004

Budget Cuts Would Severely Hinder Exploration, O'Keefe Says Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
The cuts to NASA's fiscal year 2005 budget request contained in the House Appropriations Committee's NASA spending bill effectively would halt the agency's plans to develop a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and achieve new breakthroughs in in-space propulsion, according to Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "We can't do this at the levels that they've contemplated," O'Keefe told Senate lawmakers at a Sept. 8, 2004 hearing.

July 27, 2004

Analysis: Bush stands by his space plan
President George W. Bush's new space exploration plan has received a burst of hard-core support in Congress, aimed at blocking any attempt to cut its funding, and backed up by a rare veto threat from the president himself. This development has emerged in the wake of action by a House appropriations subcommittee last week, which cut the administration's NASA budget request for fiscal year 2005 by more than $1 billion. Presidential veto threats have been a rarity in the Bush White House. Also, no U.S. president has ever vetoed a spending bill because it contained too little money for space programs.
Kerry is mum on moon and Mars FLORIDA TODAY
John Kerry brought two astronauts with him to campaign at the Kennedy Space Center. He strolled among the rocket relics. And he recalled a day when those rockets were the tools a dedicated army of Americans used to do what then seemed impossible. But in the heart of a community where more than 20,000 people work on space programs, the Democrats' candidate for president met with a roomful of voters without commenting on President Bush's proposal to send astronauts to the moon and Mars or offering a specific vision of his own for exploring space.

July 26, 2004

John Kerry on Space 2004
Of course, the only comments from a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 that have come to have any real relevance to the future progress of Bush's new space policy (should Bush lose) are those of John Kerry, the Democratic Party's 2004 nominee. The day after Bush's speech, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Kerry as saying, "Rather than sending Americans to Mars or the Moon right now, these people would be better off trying to figure out how to get Americans back from Iraq."

July 23, 2004

White House Threatens to Veto Budget Bill Over NASA Cuts
The White House has threatened to veto a spending bill that would deny NASA the funding it is counting on to get started on a new space exploration agenda next year. The veto threat was issued after the House Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to cut President George W. Bushs 2005 budget request for NASA by $1.1 billion, a move that would leave the space agency with $229 million less than it has this year.

July 20, 2004

Bush's Manned Mars Mission Funds Cut By $538 Mln in House Bill Bloomberg
Funds for President George W. Bush's plan to use the moon as a base for possible manned missions to Mars were cut by more than half next year in a bill approved by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration would get $15.1 billion under the bill, which cuts $538 million from Bush's plan to spend $910 million on the Mars proposal in the 2005 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2004.

May 9, 2004

NASA plans contests for space feats
What happens when worlds collide? NASA will find out next month not by launching an interplanetary probe, but by inviting aerospace entrepreneurs to help flesh out the agency's plan to reward feats on the final frontier. The June 15-16 workshop in Washington will focus on drawing up NASA's first batch of "Centennial Challenges" government-funded competitions that would encourage non-governmental teams to develop technologies vital to NASA's exploration initiative. For example, a better astronaut glove might earn its developers $1 million, while the first team to put a privately funded lander on the moon could win $20 million.

April 27, 2004

Moon-Mars cost estimate is too high
Mistaken as gospel and spread around the country by countless news outlets outside of Brevard County, an oft-quoted but flawed trillion-dollar cost estimate is coloring public opinion on President Bush's plan to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020, and it's swaying election-year political debates. A more realistic estimate: $229 billion over the next 16 years.

April 6, 2004

Analysis: Congress warms to new space plan
In the 1983 movie, "The Right Stuff," astronaut Gordo Cooper points toward a space capsule and asks a NASA scientist, "Do you know what makes this bird go up?" Cooper answers his own question: "Funding makes this bird go up!" At which point, astronaut Gus Grissom chimes in: "No bucks? No 'Buck Rogers!'" That alleged conversation took place more than four decades ago, during the height of the space race with the Soviet Union. Today, the same refrain applies. Without funding from Congress, no U.S. spaceship will blast off for anywhere.

March 22, 2004

Op/Ed: In space, no one can hear you explain The Space Review
Overall, this should be a relatively good time for NASA. While the agency is still recovering from the Columbia accident last year and its aftermath, NASA has had its share of good news. Spirit and Opportunity, the twin Mars Exploration Rovers, are an unquestioned success, providing scientists with the strongest evidence to date that Mars once had liquid water, an essential condition for supporting life.

March 17, 2004

Congress Not Ready to Jump on Mars Bandwagon Newhouse News Service
The prospect of sending astronauts to Mars poses scientific challenges, but just as daunting are the political and economic obstacles to fulfilling the dream of interplanetary travel. Two months after President Bush revealed his initiative to return to the moon and eventually travel to Mars, the idea is still floating in space, apparently lacking the political gravity to attract much congressional support.

March 11, 2004

Op/Ed: Rocks in space or better schools? The Modesto Bee
I am amazed at how much money we are spending to send machines to space such as the Mars rovers. Scientists are studying a rock to see if there was once water on the planet at a cost of $820 million.
Legislators debate merits of Mars mission The Daily Press
Some key lawmakers expressed reservations Wednesday about President Bush's new space mission, questioning the cost and benefits of manned travel to the moon and Mars. Leaders of the House Science Committee said they were not yet prepared to endorse a plan when there are so many unanswered questions about its price tag, affordability and impact on NASA science and aeronautics programs.

March 10, 2004

Mars mission draws budget fire EE Times
President George Bush's ambitious space exploration initiative is getting mixed reviews in Congress as lawmakers sifting through details of a NASA spending plan question how to pay for a program that could cost between $30 million and $55 billion in its initial phase.
Bush push to Mars may be slowed The Huntsville Times
Plans to return man to the moon, build advanced spacecraft and eventually land on Mars may be in trouble before the first spaceship blueprints are drafted, a top NASA official said during a meeting in Huntsville on Tuesday. Domestic needs and wartime spending might force Congress to delay funding for President Bush's plan to return to the moon, NASA Comptroller Steve Isakowitz told members of the NASA Advisory Council, gathered at Marshall Space Flight Center for their quarterly meeting.
NASA Meeting WAAY TV - Alabama
The deputy administrator of NASA was in Huntsville Tuesday. He's assessing the city as a potential site for a new NASA financial center. 500 jobs are on the line. Huntsville's up against 5 other cities for NASA's 'Shared Services Center.' Governor Riley, Congressman Cramer, and local leaders met with Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory yesterday, trying to land this big fish. The center could have a 50-million dollar impact on north Alabama.

March 9, 2004

Democratic Presidential Contender Kucinich Calls for Tripling NASA's Budget Kucinich for President
Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich today called for a tripling of NASA's budget. Kucinich, co-sponsor of the Space Exploration Act of 2003, said the current budget for NASA "is far from adequate. Our shuttle fleet is based on 30-year old technology and this is only because of a lack of funding. Although the shuttle program requires $4 billion a year to operate, NASA has been forced to operate the shuttle with a budget of only $3 billion a year." Kucinich issued a far-reaching statement on the importance of the space program a day before he arrives in Florida Monday for two days of campaigning. Additional funding for space exploration and new technologies "is in our national interest," he said.

February 13, 2004

MDA to Help Search for Proof of Life on Mars MacDonald Dettwiler

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA) announced today that subsidiary, MD Robotics, has won a $1.5 million CDN ExoMars Mission contract from the European Space Agency. The prime contract is one of two parallel Phase A studies to define a robotic rover and its science payload that will be sent to the Red Planet in 2009.

February 9, 2004

EADS Astrium Wins Study For First European Mars Rover

EADS Space has been awarded a EUR900k study by ESA to carry out the first definition of a Rover to explore the Martian surface and search for life. The study led by EADS Astrium is part of ESA's Aurora programme that aims to one day put a European astronaut on Mars.

February 6, 2004

Bush Budget a Bonanza for Mars Discovery News

The president's new marching orders for NASA to leave low-Earth orbit and return to outer space exploration promises to be a bonanza for robotic missions to Mars, which not only will continue the search for clues to past life, but also pave the way for human expeditions to the Red Planet.

February 4, 2004

NASA Releases Budget and Vision Details

NASA unveiled its budget request to Congress Tuesday with the release of two companion documents: the "Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Estimates" and "The Vision for Space Exploration," a framework for exploration of the solar system and beyond.

February 3, 2004

Budget proposal for NASA blueprint puts emphasis on Mars, beyond

Forget about spending much time on the moon. President Bush's $16.2 billion NASA budget proposal envisions annual lunar missions, by humans and robots, as mere steppingstones to exploring Mars and beyond. "This is not about sending humans back to the moon," NASA Comptroller Steve Isakowitz said, showing a computer-aided presentation with "Humans to the Moon" in a circle with a red slanted line through it. "The reason we're going to the moon is because we don't know today how to go to Mars," he said. "We're going to be using the moon first and foremost as a test bed to prepare the way for things we know humans could do of great value on Mars."

January 23, 2004

Bringing space costs back down to Earth

A trillion dollars to send astronauts to Mars? If such claims are valid, it's no wonder that the public might waver in its general support for space exploration. But despite the repeated use of this figure in the news media, the actual cost is expected to be much, much less. Engineering cost analysis that has worked in the past suggests that the actual cost of Bush's proposals will be only a fifth to a tenth as great as the frightening numbers being waved around. The slowly mounting NASA allocations, as shown on budget proposals, are in line with these estimates.

January 21, 2004

Bush Vision Was Key to Saving NASA from Budget Cuts

In the months preceding U.S. President George W. Bushs decision to chart a new course for the U.S. space program, NASA -- like nearly all U.S. federal agencies -- found itself facing flat budgets as far as they eye could see, NASA Administrator Sean OKeefe said today. But as a result of the presidents decision to back a new vision and direction for NASA, the space agency not only avoided what would have amounted to an $11 billion cut, it also became one of the few federal agencies to secure a presidential promise of increasing funding in the years ahead.

NASA details new space goals to staff

In a presentation now being delivered to NASA employees across the country, the space agency is providing details of how it plans to implement the broad new space goals announced by President Bush last week. The presentation, a copy of which was obtained by MSNBC.com, includes a list of guiding principles, specific program plans and details of budgetary rearrangements.

January 13, 2004

Bush Says Moon-Mars Plans Will Be Affordable

U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking to reporters Tuesday in Mexico, said that his proposal for sending astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars would be affordable. A transcript of the president's remarks was posted to the White House website. During a photo opportunity with Canadas new prime minister, Paul Martin, Bush was asked by reporters if the United States could afford a major shift in its space program. Bush said, Yes, Ill be saying that tomorrow.

Price tag detailed for space initiative

President Bush will seek to boost NASAs budget by $1 billion over five years to help pay for his plan to put a base on the moon and to mount a manned expedition to Mars later in the century, a senior administration official told The Associated Press Tuesday.

December 17, 2003

White House Considering Bold Space Initiative FoxNews

A bipartisan group of about two dozen senators concerned with NASA's future last month demanded the White House articulate "a bold and coherent national mission" for the space program. The White House now appears poised to deliver, possibly announcing on Wednesday a major space initiative involving a return to the moon or even a landing on Mars.

December 4, 2003

Bush mulls major new space effort

Since last spring, the Bush administration has been conducting a confidential effort to establish a dramatic new goal for the nation's civil space program, perhaps rivaling President John F. Kennedy's call to place a U.S. astronaut on the moon before the end of the 1960s, sources told United Press International. Only a few administration insiders have been involved, with Vice President Dick Cheney heading the effort, said sources, who requested anonymity. Though some details have leaked out -- most notably reports Wednesday and Thursday that President George W. Bush will call for returning Americans to the moon -- sources insist no final decisions have been made. Instead, the president is reviewing a list of alternative goals -- some of them more practical than dramatic -- that must conform to a pair of overriding directives: Any option must be achievable within a reasonable period of time, and it must not require any major new federal spending.

Bush said to be undecided on space policy

President Bush has not decided on his vision for the future of human spaceflight, the White House said Thursday, shooting down reports that an announcement was imminent on plans to return to the moon and send explorers to Mars. "It would be premature to get into any speculation about our space policy," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at his daily briefing. "It has been, and continues to be, under review. There are no plans for any policy announcements in the immediate future, and that would include any upcoming speeches."

November 6, 2003

Howard Dean The Washington Post

In January voters in New Hampshire will cast ballots for the Democratic candidate they feel would best hold the office of the presidency. The eventual winner of the nationwide nomination process will face President Bush next November. Democratic candidate and former Vermont governor Howard Dean was online to take your questions Thursday, Nov. 6 at 10:15 a.m. ET on the campaign and his vision for the United States.

November 3, 2003

Senate Hearing on the Future of NASA C-SPAN

NASA Admin. Sean O'Keefe & CAIB Chairman Harold Gehman testify on the future of NASA before the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Cmte.

November 1, 2003

Reaching toward the stars Rocky Mountain News

Congress recently initiated the Space Power Caucus after discussions with Peter Teets, the undersecretary of the Air Force, because the time is right to get the message out that space is critical to this nation's future, both on the battlefield and in industry.

October 21, 2003

Scientists debate going to infinity and beyond The Exponent

The future of flight in space possesses as many question marks as there are celestial orbs to explore. Some scientists and engineers discuss colonizing Mars while others would rather concentrate on unmanned space flight, but experts do agree that it depends largely upon how much money taxpayers want to invest in the missions.

September 10, 2003

Bill to Restore Vision for NASA's Human Spaceflight Program

After today's House Science Committee hearing on returning the Space Shuttle to flight, U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson re-introduced his Space Exploration Act. The goals established by the Space Exploration Act of 2003 are sequenced in terms of increasing difficulty and complexity. Achieving the earlier goals will provide the capabilities needed for humans to explore other parts of the inner solar system while supporting the nation's scientific objectives.

July 2, 2003

Will Men Ever Go To Mars? Radio Free Europe

The United States is sending two robotic probes to Mars to study the planet's surface. But whatever happened to a manned mission to the Red Planet, an idea that seemed almost a certainty a generation ago?

June 19, 2003

His presidential campaign is out of this world -- literally Daily Freeman

Presidential campaign buffs will tell you the successful candidate usually is the one with the most coherent message, the biggest bank account or the greatest physical presence. For Kingston resident and 2004 presidential aspirant Fern Penna, two out of three isn't bad. "We are taking a total approach," he said recently. "We have concrete policies to fix everything at once." These policies are largely based on a plan to turn the Unites States into a nation of space explorers. If elected, Penna promises to put a man on Mars, build spacecraft to catch meteors that could be harvested for minerals and begin mining operations on the moon.

March 24, 2003

NASAs Space, Earth Science Ventures Opening New Doors Space News

NASAs Space and Earth science enterprises are sowing the technological seeds for opening up new vistas on the universe and improving the understanding of the home planet. For space science, the name of the game is transit speed, power and bandwidth. In the decade ahead, NASAs largest technology investment in the name of science is expected to be in the field of nuclear power and propulsion.

February 2, 2003

Columbia tragedy challenges U.S. space policy Gannett News Service

The shuttle Columbia explosion will bring needed scrutiny to the nation's space policy, lawmakers and space advocates said Saturday. "The American people have been lulled into a false sense of security by the effectiveness and diligence of our NASA team," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. "The space program has been on the back burner for the last 10 years for our political leadership."

NASA Requests Money for Shuttle Upgrades, New Mars Mission, Nuclear Propulsion

NASAs budget request for 2004 -- finalized weeks before the launch of Columbias fatal mission and released without fanfare today -- seeks a $700 million increase for the space shuttle program. The increase is part of a $15.469 billion budget request NASA and the White House drew up under different assumptions than they face today. The budget represents a $469 million increase over NASAs 2003 request and would fund several new initiatives, including efforts to send a nuclear probe to Jupiter and place a laser telecommunications satellite in orbit around Mars.

January 25, 2003

NASA accelerates nuclear technology

NASA is accelerating its chase of advanced nuclear power systems that could allow spacecraft to travel deeper into space faster and cheaper. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and other agency officials say the White House has approved a substantial budget increase for the $1 billion Nuclear Systems Initiative introduced last year. In about a week, when President Bush unveils his 2004 budget, the dollars invested in the renamed Project Prometheus will be more, though NASA won't say how much. "We are looking to significantly enhance that effort, so stay tuned," O'Keefe said. "We are looking to very specific mission objectives."

November 26, 2002

NASA Awards Caltech Five-Year JPL Contract

NASA has awarded the California Institute of Technology a new five-year contract to manage the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is estimated the contract will cover more than $8 billion worth of work. The contract extends for five years the JPL agreement between Caltech and NASA for management of JPL beyond its current expiration date of Sept. 30, 2003. The NASA contract includes a new provision that, based on performance reviews, may extend the contract period of performance for up to an additional five years.

November 14, 2002

NASA does some fancy financial footwork to deal with a budget crisis The Economist

Five billion dollars is a lot of money. A line of dollar bills five billion long would reach to the moon and back. Finding that you have a $5 billion budget shortfallas NASA, America's space agency, did last yearis therefore no mean feat. Cash crunches are nothing new at NASA, but this one is more serious. In the past, when the agency has waved its begging-bowl before American politicians, the bowl has usually been filled. This time, neither President George Bush nor Congress is interested in letting NASA spend its way out of its problems. A true crisis has finally arrived. And, a year ago, Mr Bush appointed Sean O'Keefe, a self-professed bean-counter, to deal with it.

October 15, 2002

French Role in Mars Exploration At Risk

The French participation in a long-term Mars-exploration program remains in doubt following budget cuts at its space agency, CNES, and pending a government review of space-spending priorities. What is clear is that CNES's Premier Mars mission, designed to include a Mars-orbiting satellite and four 18-kilogram landers to study the Martian surface and subsuface, will be substantially scaled back. The year-2007 launch date likely will slip to 2009. "We are looking for significant cost reductions to Premier, and a simplification of the mission," said Jean-Louis Counil, principal scientists for Mars exploration at CNES. "Our top priority remains the landers.

May 15, 2002

Lampson Introduces Bill To Stimulate Human Space Exploration House Science Committee

U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation today to establish a series of goals to advance the nations human space flight program over the next twenty years. Among the goals specified in the bill, the eight-year goal would require the development and flight demonstration of a reusable space vehicle capable of carrying humans from low Earth orbit to libration points in space, which could be used to assemble large-scale scientific observatories far beyond low Earth orbit. The twenty-year goal would require development of a reusable vehicle to carry humans to and from Martian orbit, development of a human occupied research facility on one of the moons of Mars, and development of a reusable vehicle to carry astronauts from Martian orbit to Mars and back. The bill will allow the best, most innovative mission concepts to compete. The bill also sets tough requirements for periodic independent cost and schedule reviews to ensure that the exploration initiative is properly managed.

May 14, 2002

Money, Talent Key to Ensuring U.S. Future in Space

The United States will lose its leading role in space unless it spends more money for research and development and for recruiting young engineers, government, military and industry officials said on Tuesday. NASA and the U.S. military also needed to work more closely to make the best use of scarce resources, the officials told the 12-member Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry. The congressionally mandated panel, which is due to make policy recommendations to Congress and President Bush by Nov. 27, is holding a series of meetings aimed at assessing the overall health of the aerospace industry. Tidal McCoy, chairman of the Space Transportation Association, told the panel that NASA's $15.1 billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 was "a going-out-of-business budget for any hope of advanced space goals."

April 2, 2002

Re-Think Planetary Exploration Plans, Advisory Group Urges

An advisory group to NASA urges the space agency to re-think its planetary exploration agenda, particularly how best to probe Europa for possible evidence of an ocean and advance Mars science investigations. The group also advises NASA to stay-the-course and fly the now-cancelled New Horizons mission to explore Pluto and Kuiper Belt objects. In a March 31 letter to NASA officials, the Solar System Exploration Subcommittee (SSES) of the Space Science Advisory Committee (SscAC) reviewed the overall health of the space agency's present and future planetary plans. The SSES membership is comprised of leading space scientists and is chaired by Michael Drake, head of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson. Drake authored the letter to NASA, spelling out the advisory group's views.

March 10, 2002

Poll: Space program generates low enthusiasm in public Orlando Sentinel

Americans are not enthusiastic about an ambitious space program and would cut NASA's budget before other critical national priorities, an Orlando Sentinel poll shows. The survey found little support for a long-discussed manned mission to Mars and revealed a general sentiment favoring a space program that yields practical research benefits, said Thomas Riehle, president of Ipsos-Reid U.S. Public Affairs, which conducted the national poll for the Sentinel.

February 2, 2002

Public Tells NASA Where to Go: Mars

A public survey conducted for NASA shows overwhelming support for Mars missions. Of the more than 54,000 people who responded to the online survey run by the Planetary Society, more than 90 percent ranked Mars exploration among the top five missions priorities. The survey results will be provided to National Research Council, which at NASA's request is preparing a set of recommendations to guide the space agency's spending on solar system exploration over the next decade.

November 18, 2001

Funding shortfall will delay Mars, other missions

NASA will delay deep-space missions and slash other program spending to offset a $500 million shortfall over five years caused by problems with a once-heralded contract to combine and privatize space operations. The contract combines all data collection and communications that support satellites, probes to other planets and human spaceflight. Written in 1998, the Consolidated Space Operations Contract was supposed to save NASA $1.4 billion over 10 years. But the projected savings were based on poor assumptions and overly ambitious plans, NASA managers now acknowledge. The savings didn't materialize. Making matters worse, NASA leaders spent money they thought they had saved on satellites that added to the contract's cost. As a result, all missions to Mars scheduled after 2007 may be pushed back.

November 14, 2001

It's Official: Bush Picks O'Keefe To Helm NASA

The White House at 6 p.m. made official what people throughout the space community had been buzzing about all day. U.S. President George Bush intends to nominate Sean O'Keefe, the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget to be the next NASA Administrator. O'Keefe has been an instrumental figure in the White House's attempts to bring the International Space Station budget under control. After determining that the program would exceed its budget by $5 billion over the next five years, OMB cut NASA's request for funding major future work on the station. The cuts included money for the construction of new crew quarters and the development of a crew rescue vehicle capable of getting seven astronauts off of the orbiting laboratory in an emergency.

October 17, 2001

NASA Chief Administrator Daniel Goldin to Announce Resignation Today, Sources Say

NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin said today he will depart November 17 satisfied and proud that the U.S. space agency launched so many spacecraft during his tenure. "NASA is alive!" Goldin, the agencys longest-serving administrator, said in a telephone interview. He noted that NASA had 60 spacecraft launched and planned during his tenure and said his proudest moment was the in-orbit repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. "We opened up the universe," he said. Goldin said his biggest disappointment is not going to Mars. "My life will be complete when an astronaut sets foot on Mars," Goldin said. "I want to be associated with it in some way."

September 20, 2001

Terrorist Attacks, Economy Threaten NASA Budget

NASA is expected to announce as early as October how it will deal with a newly mandated 5 percent budget cut, while rumblings of potentially deeper budget woes have begun to surface in the space community as the nation mobilizes its military in the wake of the September 11 terrorist strikes on American soil. The directive to cut the budget by 5 percent was issued by the White House on September 10. Decisions about possible cutbacks to the Mars exploration program and other cost savings may come as early as October and almost surely by the end of the year.

August 8, 2001

Nigeria Boosts Space Spending

Nigeria is planning to spend N9 billion ($US25.4 million) over the next three years implementing the nation's National Space Policy and Programme. The initative reported by This Day was announced July 27 by the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun. Isoun said the Nigerian government had to embark on the programme in realisation of the fact that space technology reflected the power of a nation, and that Nigeria as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space [COPUOS] was committed to the ideal that the exploration and use of outer space should be carried out for peaceful purposes.

June 29, 2001

Station Cost Overrun Prompts New Round Of Proposed Cuts

An orbital test flight of a prototype crew rescue ship and technology development for human missions to Mars face cancellation as NASA continues a bid to absorb an anticipated $4 billion International Space Station cost overrun, agency officials said Friday. A slate of technology development efforts being carried out at NASA's Johnson Space Center as precursors to human expeditions to Mars also would be axed under the proposal.

June 4, 2001

NASA cuts smaller Mars studies

Space station Alpha, increased robotic exploration and the Space Launch Initiative all will get humans to Mars faster than relatively small studies and planning, according to NASA chief Dan Goldin. In his recent justification of why human exploration studies of the Red Planet are being shut down, Goldin said the work was minor compared to the multibillion-dollar efforts the agency has undertaken. "I think this will get us to Mars faster because when you try and do too much, you do too little," Goldin said. "And getting the space station done and getting it complete and getting the assembly done, and getting the biomedical research done, is of a much higher priority than the dogs and cats of the small programs we were doing on getting ready for Mars."

June 1, 2001

Robert Zubrin Submits Testimony to the United States Senate

In the past week, Dr. Robert Zubrin, with the help of Joe Webster and Chris Carberry, authored testimony that was submitted to the United States Senate VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, regarding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget for FY 2002 (the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee has jurisdiction over NASA's budget). In the testimony, Dr. Zubrin explains to Congress why our Nation should commit at least one percent of NASA's budget (about $140 million) to a program that would investigate technologies that will be necessary to send humans to Mars. In addition to the VA-HUD Subcommittee, we will be sending copies of this testimony to numerous other members of Congress as well as the Bush Administration.

May 20, 2001

Search for New NASA Chief Taking Time

Space analysts, who have asked since January who President Bush would pick to head NASA, now wonder whether anyone wants the job. A new NASA chief would work for an administration that favors military uses of space and offers no prospects for an increased budget during the next four years. The White House is known to favor an administrator from the private sector, but salary could be a complication as the job pays markedly less than those held by aerospace industry executives. Most experts speculate the post is best suited to someone who has significant savings and political aspirations.

April 10, 2001

Bush's NASA budget increases funding for shuttle upgrades, Mars exploration

President Bush laid out a $14.5 billion NASA budget that includes a decrease in space station funding, and increases for shuttle upgrades and robotic Mars exploration...In addition to enhanced probes every two years for the rest of the decade, the recommendation would pay for a mission to bring back martian soil samples in 2011, three years ahead of schedule.

March 5, 2001

Bush's Budget Plan Bolsters Mars Exploration

Last weeks release of President Bushs budget blueprint for fiscal year 2002 calls for new monies to make NASAs Mars exploration program "more robust". How that term translates within NASAs $14.5 billion proposed budget will be made known early next month when a detailed space agency budget is issued. As now hazily sketched out, President Bushs budget for the space agency bolsters future robotic surveys of the Red Planet. But to what extent a boost in Mars monies swamps out other space science efforts is not known.

December 21, 2000

Clinton Defends 'Cheaper' U.S. Space Program

NASA needed to learn how to manage its multi-billion-dollar budget better and recent disasters, including the loss of two expeditions to Mars, were part of the price we pay for space exploration, President Clinton said in an interview to be published on Friday. The "faster, better, cheaper" policy, which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration now admits probably cut things a bit too close, was a necessary discipline, Clinton said in an interview with the magazine Science marking the end of his eight-year administration.

December 13, 2000

Space Leaders Urge Next U.S. President and Congress to Make Space Policy a Priority

A number of American government and industry officials are seeking basic changes in the way Congress, the Pentagon and the White House oversee U.S. space activity. And they want these changes to be a high priority when the new American president and Congress take office in January.

November 7, 2000

Bill Nelson, Space Shuttle Payload Specialist Wins Florida Senate Seat

Former Space Shuttle payload specialist Democrat Bill Nelson defeated Republican Representative Bill McCollum on Tuesday for the Senate seat from Florida. In August, Nelson told Florida Today that he would make a piloted mission to Mars a legislative priority. "In my lifetime, what I want to see is a mission from Planet Earth to Planet Mars with an international crew that returns safely," Nelson told the newspaper. "I think we can do that. We have the technology, we just have to have the will to do."

October 8, 2000

The Candidates Respond: Space Policy Physics Today

Al Gore and George W. Bush recently answered a questionnaire concerning their views on various aspects of Science. In the question concerning space policy, Bush gives a detailed answer concerning Mars, Gore ignores Mars.

September 14, 2000

House Approves $28.8 Billion Two-Year Spending Plan for NASA

The U.S. House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a $28.8 billion, two-year spending plan that limits further U.S. costs for the International Space Station (ISS) and seeks to reform the much-maligned station partnership with Russia. Lawmakers passed the bill 399 to 17, providing a blueprint for congressional spending on space in the next two fiscal years. The bill offers $14.2 billion in 2001 and $14.6 billion in 2002 and increases funding for space science and aeronautics.

August 16, 2000

Nelson vows to make Mars mission priority

Democratic Senate candidate Bill Nelson said Tuesday if Florida voters send him to Washington, D.C., he will make a manned mission to Mars among his legislative priorities. "In my lifetime, what I want to see is a mission from planet Earth to planet Mars with an international crew that returns safely," said Nelson, 57, who is at the Democratic convention promoting his candidacy. "I think we can do that. We have the technology. We just have to have the will to do."

August 12, 2000

NASA Scientist: Space Agency Needs an Overhaul

America's space program is stranded in Earth orbit, operating costly space-shuttle and space-station projects that go round and round, and nowhere fast, a panel of space experts said Friday, August 11. Dismayed by the lack of progress in human exploration of space is Chris McKay, a NASA space scientist at the Ames Research Center, near San Francisco, California. "It's kind of puzzling that since 1969, we haven't really gone beyond the moon, we being humans," McKay told an audience of 800 on Friday at the Third International Mars Society Convention.

August 3, 2000

Science Mission Costs Soar

Proposed budgets for new NASA space exploration missions are rising as much as 40 percent in the aftermath of back-to-back Mars failures and the agency is considering canceling some projects, a key administrator said Thursday.

August 1, 2000

GOP Platform: Everything Under The Sun

A few items get the most attention - it's abortion ad infinitum, education everywhere. Yet Republicans, in their newly minted platform, spare a thought for trucks, American Samoa, and Pennsylvania Avenue. They even looked to the heavens and found a plank: "We will ensure that this Nation can expand our knowledge of the universe, and with the support of the American people, continue the exploration of Mars and the rest of the solar system."

July 20, 2000

Space Funding Gets Less Support from Women

Men are more than twice as likely as women to support greater funding for the U.S. space program, according to a new poll of 640 New Yorkers conducted by the Siena Research Institute. One in four men said that the government spends too little money on the space program, while about one in 10 women said the same. In another indication of a gender gap, 59 percent of women said the United States should not pursue the possibility of sending humans to Mars, with only 40 percent of men saying that.

Gore and Bush Space Platforms Emerge

Space exploration may be the final frontier of the 2000 presidential contest: Mars missions, space stations and NASA have been relatively untouched by either candidate or the talking heads on television talk shows. Until now. Advisors to Al Gore and George W. Bush, at a Capitol Hill roundtable held by Women in Aerospace, spelled out the presumed nominees vision for space and aeronautics in what was billed as the first public discussion of space policy under the next administration.

May 2, 2000

Astronomers Detail Budget Planetary Missions Yahoo! News

They plan to visit Mars, Mercury, even Jupiter's icy moon Europa, but the world's space scientists acknowledged Tuesday they will have to do it on a budget. Influenced by NASA's controversial "cheaper-faster-better" philosophy, astronomers gathered for a meeting on low-cost missions around the solar system where the presentations occasionally sounded more like management-speak than science.

April 7, 2000

Goldin says NASA may need more than $14B budget The Huntsville Times

NASA may have to ask for more money than was included in its $14 billion budget request for fiscal 2001, space agency Administrator Dan Goldin admitted Thursday. An outside panel reviewing NASA's disastrous last two Mars missions also concluded the programs were underfunded by 30 percent, so NASA needs to find more money for similar missions to make sure they're not shortchanged.

March 28, 2000

Congress Not Satisfied With Mars Polar Lander Report

Incensed by a report released March 28 detailing the reasons behind the loss of NASA's Mars Polar Lander (MPL), Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and other members of Congress asked the agency to release all relevant tests conducted on the craft's propulsion system.

March 15, 2000

Budget could postpone new space technologies The Huntsville Times

Marshall Space Flight Center is dreaming of building new spacecraft, but it may be in for a rude awakening if a budget being prepared by congressional Republicans becomes law.

January 18, 2000

2001 Looks Good for NASA, 2000 Still Poses Troubles

President Clinton will ask Congress next month for a healthy boost in NASA's budget for 2001, and the agency's space science office in particular can look forward to White House support for more money in the coming fiscal year, according to administration officials.

January 9, 2000

Space station, Mars probes need rethinking in 2000 Space Today

Now that NASA officials have shaken the New Year confetti out of their hair, they face the difficult task of reviving two deeply troubled programs on which the agency's future rests: The International Space Station and the exploration of Mars. The projects dominate the nation's space agenda, and the extent to which NASA succeeds or fails in restoring confidence in them will determine its support in Congress and with the American public.

January 7, 2000

NASA's 1999 Feats Presage its Next Millennium

NASA's achievements in 1999 extended from terrestrial airport runways to extrasolar planets and addressed concerns ranging from the environmental to the cosmological. Here are our picks for the top 10 NASA stories this year.

December 12, 1999

NASA's most recent woes merit concern, not panic Space Today

Bad luck or bad management? That's the question many Americans - including some members of Congress - are asking about the failures and setbacks plaguing the nation's space program. And no wonder.

December 5, 1999

Congress waits to judge NASA about Mars Space Today

Members of Congress who play a key role in NASA's budget remained optimistic Saturday that all was not lost with Mars Polar Lander. But they added the agency needs a successful mission after the failure of Mars Climate Orbiter less than three months ago, a failure caused by an embarrassing mix-up in mathematics that sent it on a suicide course.

July 28, 1999

Gore Supports NASA

The NASA budget cuts approved by a House panel Monday would require the space agency to shut down two space centers, Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday.

July 27, 1999

Robotic Mars Mission Threatened by Budget Cuts

A round of steep budget cuts applied to the NASA Fiscal Year 2000 budget Monday would kill the unmanned Mars exploration program that would send robots to the red planet before humans, and a wide range of other, advanced robotic missions to explore space.

NASA Space Science in Grave Danger

On July 26, the VA, HUD and Independent Agencies subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee approved a budget that funds NASA at $1.3 billion less than the President's recommended budget.

House Space Science Cuts Most Devastating in History Planetary Society

The House VA-HUD-IA Appropriations Subcommittee this evening voted to slash $1.3 billion from NASAs FY 2000 budget, which could cripple the agency and force the termination of many critical space science missions.