Our Emissary on Mars, Budget Woes on Earth
In a letter to the New York Times, Robert Zubrin writes:
The landing of the terrific Curiosity rover on Mars has rightly thrilled the world, and the nation’s leaders are taking a bow. “If anyone has been harboring doubts about the status of U.S. leadership in space,” the president’s science adviser, John P. Holdren, said, “well, there’s a one-ton automobile-size piece of American ingenuity. And it’s sitting on the surface of Mars right now.”
But alas, the Curiosity mission is a legacy of the Bush administration, begun by one NASA administrator, Sean O’Keefe, and rammed through to completion over the objections of vocal critics by his gutsy successor, Mike Griffin, who also initiated the Maven Mars orbiter, scheduled for launching next year.
The Obama administration, however, has no plans to continue in like vein. Far from it. It has canceled NASA’s plans for joint Mars missions with the Europeans in 2016 and 2018 and is proposing to butcher the program budget.