Friday, January 29, 2010

OBAMA to cancel NASA Moon mission

President Barack Obama is essentially grounding efforts to return astronauts to the moon and instead is sending Nasa in new directions with roughly six billion US dollars more, according to officials familiar with the plans.

A White House official confirmed published reports that when next week's budget is proposed, Nasa will get an additional 5.9 billion US dollars over five years.

Some of that money would extend the life of the International Space Station to 2020.

It would also be used to entice companies to build private spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the space station after the space shuttle retires, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The money in the President's budget is not enough to follow through with Nasa's plan for flights to the moon, which had been initiated by President George W Bush and has already cost 9.1 billion US dollars.

It all comes down to money. The six-year-old Bush plan sputtered when promised budget increases did not materialise. And now money is a big consideration in Nasa's latest shift in focus.
A new direction for Nasa has been on hold for several months while an independent commission studied options and the White House weighed them.

Mr Obama's choice will be made clear on Monday, when he releases his 2011 budget proposal.

Space policy scholar John Logsdon, who was on an Obama space campaign advisory committee, said Mr Obama is adopting the preferred option of a White House-appointed outside panel of experts last year. That concept includes reliance on a commercial spaceship, a space station that functions for five more years than planned, and a "flexible path" for human space exploration.

That might mean trips to a nearby asteroid, a Martian moon or a brief visit to the moon, instead of the Bush plan for a moon base by the end of the decade.

No comments:

Post a Comment