Ed Weiler quit NASA over Mars planetary program cuts to be announced Monday

Ed Weiler quit NASA in September because of the cuts to the Mars planetary program that the Obama administration will announce on Monday.

Weiler was NASA’s chief science administrator for most of the past thirty years.

As I have already noted, the programs that NASA shouldn’t cut are its planetary and astronomy programs. Far better to dump the Space Launch System, which eats up a lot more cash and will end up producing nothing. By doing so you would not only reduce NASA’s actual budget — thereby saving the federal government money — you could simultaneously increase the budgets of the planetary and astronomy programs.

Former astronaut John Grunsfeld is to take over NASA’s science post from Ed Weiler

Excellent choice: Former astronaut John Grunsfeld has been picked to take over NASA’s chief science post from Ed Weiler.

Not only is Grunsfeld an excellent choice, his experience as an astronaut repairing Hubble will help improve relations between the science and manned space programs. In the past, scientists have often argued against manned space, trying to get that money for their unmanned research probes. Instead, when manned space got cut, so did science, and no one won. Grunsfeld’s leadership I think will forestall these short-sighted complaints.

NASA science administrator Ed Weiler is retiring after 33 years

Science administrator Ed Weiler is retiring after almost 33 years at NASA.

Among Weiler’s many achievements, he was crucial to getting the Hubble Space Telescope launched. Even more important, though others had conceived the idea of using the shuttle to maintain Hubble, he designed the maintenance schedule for the telescope. Seven years before it was launched, he insisted that a regular schedule of repair missions be placed on the shuttle manifest. He also insisted that a duplicate of the telescope’s main camera be built, so that if anything went wrong with the first a repaired unit could be launched quickly. It was his foresight here that made the first repair of Hubble in December 1993 go so smoothly. For this, astronomers will always be grateful.