Mars Lost: NASA Cutting Mission To Red Planet

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Scientists say NASA is about to propose major cuts in its exploration of other planets, especially Mars. And NASA’s former science chief is calling it irrational.

With limited money for science and an over-budget new space telescope, the space agency essentially had to make a choice in where it wanted to explore: the neighboring planet or the far-off cosmos.

Mars lost.

Two scientists who were briefed on the 2013 NASA budget that will be released next week said the space agency is eliminating two proposed joint missions with Europeans to explore Mars in 2016 and 2018. NASA had agreed to pay $1.4 billion for those missions. Some Mars missions will continue, but the fate of future flights is unclear, including the much-sought flight to return rocks from the red planet.

The two scientists, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the budget, said the cuts to the Mars missions are part of a proposed reduction of about $300 million in NASA’s $1.5 billion planetary science budget. More than $200 million in those cuts are in the Mars program, they said. The current Mars budget is $581.7 million.

“To me, it’s totally irrational and unjustified,” said Edward Weiler, who until September was NASA’s associate administrator for science. “We are the only country on this planet that has the demonstrated ability to land on another planet, namely Mars. It is a national prestige issue.”

Weiler said he quit last year because he was tired of fighting to save Mars from the budget knife. He said he fought successfully to keep major cuts from Mars in the current budget but has no firsthand knowledge of the 2013 budget proposal.

Mars “has got public appeal, it’s got scientific blessings from the National Academy,” Weiler said in a phone interview from Florida. “Why would you go after it? And it fulfills the president’s space policy to encourage more foreign collaboration.”

Two years ago, President Barack Obama said his ultimate goal was to send astronauts to Mars.

NASA spokesman David Weaver said that, just like the rest of the federal government, the space agency has to make “tough choices … and live within our means.”

To do so, Weaver said in an email, “NASA is reassessing its current Mars exploration initiatives to maximize what can be achieved.”

Weaver said the United States is the only country to land on Mars and has a car-sized rover on its way to the planet.

One of the big problems for NASA’s science budget is the replacement for the wildly successful Hubble Space Telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope, which would be about 100 times more powerful and would gaze farther into the universe than ever before, is now supposed to cost around $8 billion. It was originally estimated to cost $3.5 billion.

The other big part of NASA science spending — Earth sciences — is not being cut, the two scientists said.

The cut comes in the same week President Obama hosted the Second Annual White House Science Fair, touting the advancements of science and technology students.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Ima SickOfLibs

    The president says alot of things and then continues his marxist agenda. Not worry though, the independant voter didn’t seem to care about this trait back in 2008, so deal with it until the voter wises up.

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks

      Nothing wrong with libs, only with a president who is more lib than most socialists!

      • Kip Noxzema

        Yes, it’s everything to do with Libs. They’re the ones pushing him to move the country even farther Left. Imagine what they will do together if he is re-elected. Goodbye America.

      • Obama-is-a-Marxist

        Liberalism is a disease and conservmegolomaniacatism is the cure. If we didn’t have so many people dependent on the federal government there would be no need for the democRat party.
        The money the OWH (Occupy White House) spent on green energy would be more than enough to fund the Mars mission. This idiot and chief is so focused on his power and his ego (he’s a classic megolomaniac) and idiology to hell with anything else. God, I’ll be glad when he’s back community organizing in Chicago.

    • ScottJ

      Amen. I read a great article a short while back in which the author made the point that he wasn’t concerned about the damage one bad president could do, because it could all be undone. But he was terrified about the overwhelming number of mo-rons that would vote for that obviously unqualified president in the first place.

    • Alex Dimitriades

      What precisely is a “Marxist” agenda?

      Oh wait, I’m sure you have no clue.

    • zombierocket

      Cut $500 million from NASA… but HAND AWAY $14 TRILLION to the banksters. Makes sense… NOT!

      You Americans deserve what you get: you keep electing short-sighted socialists, criminals, and crony capitalists to office while your eyes are glued on Dancing With The Stars. So so stupid, and so very tragic!

  • EZ Money

    Due to fiscal constraints, the DoD can no longer fight two wars and now NASA cannot explore “the neighboring planet or the far-off cosmos.” But we can squander half a billion on Solyndra and even more on other failed alternative energy companies. No wonder we’re in an unprecedented fiscal crisis. I think about just the taxes I’ve paid (and will pay) in my lifetime and how my lifetime taxes are just a fraction of a percent in government waste. We need to get serious about our federal budget by eliminating the deficit and paying off the national debt.

    • Bob Norton

      Half a billion dollars would buy 1/8 of a useless B2 bomber.

      • Kip Noxzema

        State your point, please. Don’t be a drive-by Lib poster.

      • Nhoji Niknari

        B2 bombers kill flowers and harm children.

    • Dan Meyer

      This would be the same federal budget that hasn’t been passed in the past 1000 days???? Can’t get serious about something they won’t even DO. It’s their JOB to do the federal budget. Come this November fire any political person who failed to do their JOB. Congress… right on up to the President! Vote em OUT!

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    It’s more important to go start more illegal wars and kill more men, women and children that have never done a thing to us. Remember what Superman said, “Truth, justice AND the American way”. Pointing out that the American way is separate from truth and justice. C’mon and get patriotic and spend your great grandchildren’s future on making arms dealers rich, killing millions and making burnt out psychopaths that come home and become cops.


    • Kip Noxzema

      You’re getting sand in your ears by sticking your head in it.

    • Smedley Butler

      • Smedley Butler

        There is no honor in killing and dying for foreign offshore banks or killing innocent people that have done nothing to you. But the brainwashed think it’s manly to use depleted uranium weapons on mud huts, against people who have no tanks, jets, helicopters or bankers printing fiat currency until the cows come home. I thought war was when both side had real weapons. Again, how manly to mow down people from a few miles away and then laugh about it.

    • ScottJ

      Man what I would give to kick you out of this fine country myself.

      • NsR

        Spoken like a true inbred communist loving degenerate. It’s always low IQ morons that think solving complex human problems with violence is the correct answer or stifling speech or thought s their domain. You’re a real piece of work. Seek help before you go postal.

    • Patriot42

      I get your point, give me the money that they are now giving to the military so you can buy some more meth.

  • Endless September

    Really? You’re fired up about 300 million dollars a year when other agencies in the Gov. misuses that much in a day? How much does TSA cost us a year? Wars on drugs? Oil subsidies? Tax fraud? With all of that around us, you get fired up about $300 million from NASA?

    • Homey D Clown

      Go visit your local County soc. services office on any day. You will find dozens of ellegal eliens lined up in 2-hour wait lines waiting for a free food stammp card with at LEAST $200 per month of free food. And most of them have $100 Nikes, iphones, and all are dressed very nicely. I was there today at the County offices, and saw this with my own eyes, and could not believe it. No WONDER there are so many ellegals here; they get $200-400 per month in free food within 7 days! $300 million per DAY is what I would guess we are giving away to elllegals.

      • Simon_Jester

        By “ellegal” you mean “funny colored” and by “most of them have” you mean “I’m hallucinating,” right?

        Hint: do some math. You can look up the total cost of the food stamp program. Do a Google search. Divide by the number of days in a year. Those “food stammp” cards don’t cost $300 million a day for *everyone in the program,* let alone for “ellegals.”

        You’re just making up big numbers because you like blaming your problems on illegal immigrants, instead of on the people who decided it was a brilliant idea to lay off about one American worker in six and pocket the money that would have gone to paying them, then raid the pension fund by playing with the stock market.

        But hey, higher corporate profits for god-fearing CEOs, so it must be a good thing.

      • Blammo

        See there. Homey is living proof that money should be spent on edjummikashin.

    • ScottJ

      Please look up the profit on a barrel of oil vs. the taxes before you ever say anything else about oil subsidies.

      • Endless September

        ??? Having worked in Dubai for a spell (4 months) I’ve seen first hand the amount of money it takes to keep oil prices at the level we do. Sure there is profit in oil, but a lot of that profit comes from our Government putting money directly into the pockets of certain individuals. So I’ll echo my last comment unless you’d like to direct me to something that contradicts anything I’ve said.

  • Jess

    Where President Kennedy said “we choose to go to the moon,” Barack Obama says we choose to stay home and pass out free condoms. My, how the once mighty America has fallen.

    • The Bruce

      Didn’t you get the word, Jess? Two years ago Obama announced NASA’s new focus on Muslim outreach. I actually remember having to rewind the DVR to make sure I heard that one right.

  • David B

    Much better for dems to spend that money on buying votes! Remember liberal hyperbole is always a winner in any argument! Obama deficit spends a yearly NASA budget every 3 days! NASA has a yealy publication call Spinoff! Over 45,000! The US space program ispinoffs are responsible for over half of our GDP for the cost of 1/2 of 1% of GDP!

    • ScottJ

      Thank you. You’d be amazed at how many people are too stupid to understand this.

  • Mike Hunt

    Well blow me down.

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks

      I guess that’s better than getting blown up, but maybe not better than getting blown.

  • William

    Again the American people and the Obama administration refuse to allow future technologies to flourish.

    Between NASA and the military we have GPS, microwaves, aluminium foil, plastic, ceramic, computers, internet,,,and the list goes on FOREVER.

    The may not have invented them but they damn sure accelerated thier development.

    • ScottJ

      ….I assume by American people you mean the idiotic ones that voted for obama right?

      • jeff

        Yes anyone that voted for oama is STUPID!

      • The Bruce

        I can’t speak for William but, … OK I can… YES!!!

  • Patel Mattel

    Are they slashing NASA’s main mission budget, Muslim outreach, also?

  • JW

    It’s that hope and change thing. Yes We Can!!!! (ruin the country)

  • Marty

    This is all great but how does it help the Pittsburgh Pirates get over .500 for the first time since 1992?

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks

      LMAO! I LOVE IT! You’re absolutely right!! It doesn’t do a lick of good to help the Pirates.

      And you’ve just explained in no uncertain terms why Obama got elected in the first place. Nobody cared.

      And they still don’t.

      But the more important question is what don’t they care about? Is it what happens next, or is it what JA s s chooses to run for the electoral majority and how well he can lie to the American people.

      The best liar always wins. And the majority of us are just peeved that they pre-empted our favorite shows to bring us non-stop coverage of the elections.

  • Eyeswideopen

    One area that NASA could easily cut is their expenditures in the area of so called climate change. If ever there was a fraud, it is CAGW and your government is in bed with all of the crooks in the UN supporting it.

    • wxrealist

      “The other big part of NASA science spending — Earth sciences — is not being cut, the two scientists said.”

      The new upcoming administration should fire James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, and all their climate groupthink wackos that have embedded themselves in the G.I.S.S. department of NASA.

  • Mike

    Evil men and evil doings keeps the human race from exploring our destiny in space…but until we are a species that can live in peace and respect all living things we are doing the universe a favor by remaining on our own little piece of stone least we ruin more of God’s creation.

  • RussRamey6

    I would rather fund NASA than all the other worthless government vote buying / market warping schemes, our military preparedness is also a very high priority as some Americans are going to find out in the immediate future.
    The entitlement mentality of “free” stuff will drop our republic in the dust bin of history just like Rome, Britain, etc. We have lost out outward focus…Mars would give us a goal as a national mission…education, jobs, focus, and exploration once again…we are stale and dry!

  • Jeff Moss

    Well, clearly they made the right decision. The space telescope is far more important than a joy ride to Mars.

  • Snidely

    Obama has already told NASA it’s mission is Muslim outreach. Why are they even thinking of spending money on space exploration? What does that have to do with promoting the established state religion of Islam?

  • WRTolkas

    You all got it wrong. Obummer was cutting NASA’s budget for the proposed mission to send an American family of four safely to Mars, Pennsylvania, and return them to Washington D.C. in a Chevy Volt.

    • Kip Noxzema

      Heh heh. And they can roast their hot dogs by the fire, too.

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks


      Can’t build a car that runs on electric. Want to send people to Mars in a spacecraft that runs on something that will last that long.

      Can’t revisit the moon, ’cause we’ve been there, but eliminates the prospect of travelling to Mars.

      Thank God, that by the time man could get to Mars, we could have a new President that might help America to prosper and create new technology to send man to Mars even faster!!

  • Amer

    All of the mars missions that supposedly “failed” were simply turned into secret missions. Google for mars conspiracies- there are artifacts and even vegetation growing on mars resembling banyan trees.

  • Ifcabob

    Remember in the 60s and early 70s during the Apollo moon missions when a small minority of people griped at the time about spending money in space when there were “starving” Americans. We all laughed at these pre-occupy hippy freaks of the day. Then Lyndon Johnson got to implement his “Great Society”, “Social Justice”, “Redistributed Wealth” programs and these hippy freaks ended up getting the last laugh. Instead of having all Americans paying taxes to do big national projects like the Space Program and the Interstate Highway system, we decided to put half of all these Americans on the free money dole to be paid by the other half of hard working Americans. Now, with half of the people supporting the other half, there is no more money left for big and great national projects. Blame FDR, LBJ and the rest of the socialist democrat party that is “progressively” destroying this great country – just like they always wanted!

  • Dave Lucas

    What’s funny is how we all thought that by now, we’d have colonized places like Mars!
    Remember Jefferson airplane’s Blows Against The Empire of 1970 – which predicted that in 1990 Hippies would “Occupy” a spaceship built by the government, in order to emigrate throughout the universe?
    People really believed it was possible! And judging by the progress that had already been made in the space program, it was…. but we abandoned the dream!

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks

      In the 60’s through the 90’s space was a frontier that everybody was willing to pay for. Today, we have the conservatives that are interested in lining their pockets, and the liberals that are interested in finding out more about that proverbial free lunch (and breakfast, and dinner, and house, and etc).

      In the 60’s through the 90’s, people paid their fair share and hoped to have enough left over to retire on someday. People were thrilled to see their tax dollars used for neat cool things like space exploration — not wasted on stupid wars, bogus scientific evidence of man-made climate change, etc.

      Today, we’re more interested in political correctness and more willing to spend a trillion dollars on a stupid war than we are in nuking the opposing forces and spending the money on space exploration. We forget that much of the technology that gave rise to our smartphones, to our computers, etc., originated in the space program.

      And because we forget, we are doomed to cede our dominance to the next generation of people — be they in America, China, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Philippines — who are willing to go the extra mile to the moon, to Mars, to Pluto, and beyond, simply because its there and needs to be done.

      • Simon_Jester

        I find myself mixed between agreeing and disagreeing.

        Even cheaper than “nuking the opposing forces” is just not starting random wars for the sake of random ideas about how to rule countries full of sand. There’s a lot of that in American policy in the Middle East, and has been for many years. Does anyone really think it was a good idea to invade Iraq and occupy it for ten years over a bunch of nonexistent WMD? Or to bring freedom to them? Because we sure freedomized the heck out of the place, what with all the bomb craters and guerilla warfare.

        For the cost of that we could have landed on Mars a dozen times over- and just left Iraq alone. We didn’t fight that war about political correctness- say what you will about George Bush, the man wasn’t exactly a champion of PC.

        A nitpick, though. You think manmade climate change is bogus? Tell it to the Northwest Passage. Men died looking for it centuries ago when it wasn’t there, because the ice was too solid. Now it *is* there, plain as day. The ice melted. Something must have made it melt, and if “we put enough smoke into the air to increase global CO2 levels by 50%” isn’t it, I have a hard time imagining what could be.

  • The Bruce

    I think we can reinvigorate the Mars initiative and do it on the cheap at the same time…

    We can retrofit a Chevy Volt with JATO thrusters, place in top of a rocket booster, and launch Obama into space.

    To boldly go where no Teleprompter has gone before…

    • Gee Whiz Obama Truly Sucks

      LMFAO!! 10 points to the winner of the thread!!

  • The Clintidote

    Lots of re-elect-payoff taxpayer loot for the ghetto morons, though.

  • edw987

    Obama has destroyed the country. It’s that simple.

  • Stephen Friedland

    Tribal government can’t grok Space travel.

    • Michael

      Heinlein FTW!

  • Jim W

    The Propagander in Chief obviously misread his teleprompter. He was supposed to say “Shuttle ready projects”.
    Yet four more wasted years, when we should be out to the Asteroid belt by now given it has been 40 years since the last Apollo mission. We could have bought Mars for the cost of a single part of the stimulus package this administration has wasted.

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