So, it has come to this – Steel-cage death match for space science?

SpaceflightNow reports that NASA’s space science programs are going to have to choose which planetary missions currently underway live or die:

Tough choices ahead for NASA’s planetary program

NASA’s unparalleled fleet of planetary science missions are exploring Mars and Saturn, speeding toward Jupiter and Pluto, mapping the moon and Mercury, and dashing through the asteroid belt.

But the longevity of many of the missions will force difficult decisions for a review committee this spring tasked with deciding which projects NASA should keep funding.

If the report is to be believed, these missions, masterpieces of engineering, and productive well beyond their expected lives are victims of their own success. The pittance it costs to keep them going and their science teams funded are being weighed against current porkbesotted budgets.


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