Summary of FY2013 NASA Budget Issues
- Reduces the NASA planetary exploration budget by $309M (20.6%), including reducing the Mars program by $130M (38%).
- Immediate (2012) cancellation of two ambitious Mars missions with ESA, which may not be recoverable at this point. This action harms the international partnerships responsible for many of the great advances in planetary explorations such as HST, Cassini/Huygens, Ulysses..
- Ending the highly successful U.S. Mars program that regularly accessed the Martian surface and maintained diverse orbital assets for the ongoing study of this dynamic and exciting world.
- Significant reductions in the outer solar system program which will curtail its operations after 2017 with the end of Cassini. Even modest actions such as the study of Uranus orbiter are pushed later in decade.
- Declining net support for the foundational Research and Data analysis programs from which taxpayers gain ongoing return from their continued investment in solar system exploration missions and which provide and maintain the knowledge necessary to design cost-effective missions in the future.
- Reduced support for ongoing solar system exploration missions, worsening a time of layoffs and hiring freezes for U.S. scientists and engineers, while reducing mission return.
- Degrading the workhorse Discovery program from an early cadence of 24 months to 56 months, and degrading the New Frontiers program from a planned cadence of two per decade to one per decade.
- No new flagship-class missions – no more Voyagers, Galileos or Cassinis. This chapter in American solar system exploration closes with the recent launch of Mars Science Laboratory.