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March 24, 2008

Mars rover reprieve?

Posted: 08:00 PM ET

Just hours after we reported that NASA budget cuts would lead to the shut down of the Mars rover "Spirit," we received this from NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs:

"There is a process that has to be followed for any mission to be canceled and the cancellation of the Mars Exploration Rovers is not under consideration. There is an ongoing budget review within the agency's Mars exploration program. However, shutting down of one of the rovers is not an option."

And this from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin:

"NASA will not shut down one of the Mars rovers."

But when I called rover principal investigator Steve Squyres back, he said he hadn't heard anything additional from anyone at NASA, and wonders whether the directive to cut $4 million out of his budget still stands. He says it is a question of simple math...if he has to cut $4 million, then he has to shut down a rover. It's that simple.

So questions remain.

I'll update the blog if I get more clarification.

–Kate Tobin, Sr. Producer, CNN Science & Technology

Filed under: Mars • NASA • Space


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Old Bob   March 24th, 2008 11:33 pm ET

As near as I can figure, $4 million is about .000013% of the Federal budget and THIS is what they cut? The Founding Fathers envisioned a revolution every 20 years or so, I think we are about 200 years past due for one.


S.B. Stein E.B. NJ   March 25th, 2008 10:04 am ET

Given how well these two robots have performed, their budget should not be cut. I would hope that at the current time that NASA would plan similar projects (with shorter expected life spans) for Neptune, Uranus and possibly Jupiter and Saturn's moons. Granted they don't have the great appeal that Mars does for a variety of reasons, but they are there.

As for Mars (and the moon for that matter), I would hope that we could have a series of satelites that get a GPS system up and ready for the first human scientists and colonists in the next 30 years. We need to begin to think about leaving the Earth and expand.


Frank   March 25th, 2008 1:19 pm ET

Thats getting a bit too ahead of ourselves I would say S.B. Stein.
As a matter of colonizing upon Mars, think about our current ability to get people into space. A small crew of say 12 would seem suffice, but to make it across a long and lonely trip to a distant planet is mind scambling. You would have to find people with minds of steel. Still it seems practical, but I'd say lets study this little red planet a litte more before we re-inact the scene of Neil A. Armstrong.


A few words on NASA-ese « IFOV   March 25th, 2008 3:20 pm ET

[...] the other hand, NASA responded quickly, saying that "...the cancellation of the Mars Exploration Rovers is not under [...]


Mr. Spock   March 28th, 2008 3:59 am ET

Run 'em into the ground just like a 1976 Montego. If there's still life left in them, then let them go until they can't go anymore, so much more scientific data we can collect. Hope Cassini lasts as long as these two.


Still Life - Mortem Still Life Still Life 2 The adventures | Artist Days   November 1st, 2008 9:42 pm ET

[...] SciTechBlog: Blog Archive – Mars rover reprieve? « – Blogs from CNN.com If there s still life left in them, then let them go until they can t go anymore, so much more scientific data we can collect. I would hope that at the current time that NASA would plan similar projects (with shorter expected life spans) for Neptune, Uranus and possibly Jupiter and Saturn s moons. Still it seems practical, but I d say lets study this little red planet a litte more before we re-inact... [...]


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