NASA cuts Opportunity and LRO from budget

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The 2016 budget proposed by NASA shuts down continued operation of either the Mars rover Opportunity or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As the article notes, both these missions continue to provide us a great deal of scientific bang for the buck. To shut them down, only to spend far more later to replace them, seems incredibly stupid.


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  • TimArth

    Of course. And $349M was spent on the test stand for the senate launch system? I am sure that they are separate departments within NASA that probably never speak to each other, but somebody must oversee this from some high level. The saddest part (as usual) is that we aren’t surprised at this sort of bureaucratic ineptness.

  • Gealon

    This is utterly ridiculous. These people want to cut two functioning spacecraft when there is nothing appreciably wrong with either of them? And for what reason? Oh I forgot, have to feed the pork machine. Not that I was ever a fan of “Faster, Better, Cheaper” but it at least had the virtue in that it would have supported more missions like Opportunity and her equally capable twin, Spirit, going to more points of interest around Mars rather then one hugely expensive rover with it’s “flat tires,” faulty electrical system and dumbed down but still enormously expensive twin.

    I question if anybody in the organization has their priorities strait any more. It’s simple common sense, when you have a tool that works, you use it. You don’t say “Oh gee, my screw driver doesn’t have the newest bells, whistles and ‘selfie sticks,’ guess I’ll toss it in the trash and buy a new one for X times the cost, or better yet buy something completely different and no longer be able to turn any screws.”

    Which brings up a question, technically Opporuntily to LRO are government property, yes? Well isn’t government property sold off all of the time? Wouldn’t it make sense, if NASA was as strapped for cash as they seem, to sell Opportunity and LRO to private space firms/universities/anyone willing to foot the bill, and let them continue to operate the spacecraft? They could even make more money by leasing time on the DSN to communicate with the craft if the new owners don’t have the means. What, are they afraid that valuable government secrets about spacecraft operation dating back to 2003 are going to fall into enemy hands? That the precious methods of reformatting Opportunity’s memory every time there is a bit error, is going to somehow give someone else a leg up? That’s already happened, Space X is beating the pants off of NASA, the least they could do is either make some move to streamline without sacrificing science, or step aside and be a gracious loser rather then wasting billions on a rocket that will never fly.

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