Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Slaughter of the Innocents, II

When the Space Shuttle was first being developed, the budgetary stresses killed a number of important science programs. The Voyager probes barely escaped the axe, and went on to become one of the most successful science projects of all time.

Sadly, it looks like Bush's alleged Mars program is already having the same effect:
NASA wants to divert money from its science programme to help pay for billions of dollars of projected space shuttle cost overruns, says the agency's chief, Mike Griffin. The cuts mean several key science missions will be delayed indefinitely and have sparked criticism from space enthusiasts and law makers....

Such slow growth is down to NASA removing $2 billion from the science budget over the next five years to help cover projected cost overruns of $3 billion to $5 billion to fly the shuttles safely until they are retired in 2010.

Redistributing NASA's budget this way represents a turnaround for Griffin, who in September 2005 specifically vowed not to take "one thin dime" from the science budget to pay for human spaceflight.

When asked about his earlier statement, Griffin stunned reporters by admitting he had to go back on his word. "I wish we hadn't had to do it; I didn't want to. But that's what we needed to do," he said. "One plain fact is NASA can simply not afford to do everything our many constituencies would like us to do."
A problem the entire US government is having, lately.

No comments: