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Mar 25 / Dave Schumaker

Budget Cuts Stop Mars Rovers

While reading some recent posts at Geotripper, I noticed the most recent post talking about supernovas. The post contained a link to an AP article published yesterday about NASA cutting back funding to the incredible Mars Exploration Rover program.

Image Credit: NASA

Spirit is parked on a sunny slope for the Martian winter and was going to gather atmospheric measurements before the budget cut. Instead, it will now stay in sleep mode for most of the winter and stop all science gathering.


Besides resting Spirit, scientists also likely will have to reduce exploration by Opportunity, which is probing a large crater near the equator. Instead of sending up commands to Opportunity every day to drive or explore a rock, its activities may be limited to every other day, said John Callas, the Mars Exploration Rover project manager at JPL.

For the record, NASA Adminitrator Michael Griffin is against any budget cuts that would affect the rovers. Here’s to hoping they find a way to continue funding the program.

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