Two major Mars missions lost out to the James Web Space Telescope in Obama's proposed NASA budget, but there's still money for other ambitious space-science missions.
Reports of the demise of ambitious space-science missions at NASA may be somewhat exaggerated.
To be sure, in President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget proposal, two major Mars missions for 2016 and 2018 lost a budgetary wrestling match with the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Web Space Telescope.
But Mr. Obama's plan also includes money to begin preliminary studies on a mission to Saturn's moon Enceladus, as well as an orbiter-probe mission to Uranus.
Both represent major “flagship” projects. And the Uranus mission was the planetary-science community's only pick for a flagship mission under a “cost constrained” budget in it's latest 10-year survey, released last year, which outlines the community's research priorities for 2013-2022.
Indeed, with the high-profile exception of Mars, money for the other “cost constrained” priorities – data analysis from existing and past missions as well as money for two other classes of robotic missions in NASA's portfolio – have been targeted for budget increases.
Page 1 of 5