10 Feb 2012

NASA to cut exploration programme

4:58 pm on 10 February 2012

Scientists say US space agency NASA is about to propose major cuts in its exploration of other planets, especially Mars.

NASA's former science chief is calling the plan irrational.

With limited money for science and an over-budget new space telescope, the space agency had to make a choice in where it wanted to explore: the neighbouring planet or the far-off cosmos.

Two scientists who were briefed on the 2013 NASA budget, that will be released next week, said the space agency is eliminating two proposed joint missions with Europeans to explore Mars in 2016 and 2018.