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NASA Rounds up $30M for Mars Next Generation

Mars Next Generation, NASA’s name for its Mars exploration program, was among one of the projects hit the worst when the agency’s 2012 budget was severely slashed. Fortunately, NASA has been able to scrape up around $30M by taking money from other programs, such as missions to explore the outer planets, and presumably by looking under couch cushions.

NASA had planned to spend around $700M on the Mars missions which was set to launch in 2018 or 2020. These plans changed when the agency was forced to leave the joint ESA and Russia program ExoMars. The mission, which entails sending a probe to Mars and bringing back samples, is now going ahead without NASA.

$20M of the Mars program money will be leftover funds after NASA pays its way out of ExoMars, with the remaining $10 being taken from the outer planet exploration missions. It’s sad that one of the United States’s most important agencies is being hit so hard and it’s a good indicator of how lopsided priorities have been as of late.

via Slashgear

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