Feeds

US gov cash slash threatens manned trips to asteroids and Mars

NASA chief warns budget cuts could stall space exploration

Build a business case: developing custom apps

NASA overcame the glitches that plagued the SpaceX Dragon's most recent berthing with the International Space Station - but it still has other worries, according to the space agency's administrator Charles Bolden.

Artist's impression of a manned mission to Mars

Plenty of sun, sea and sulphur here on Mars

Bolden has said that recent political events in the US forcing the President to sign a sequester (incorporating across-the-board governmental budget slashes) into law could affect NASA's plans to send people to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s.

Despite Obama's reservations that the spending cuts in both defence and non-defence budges will be "deeply destructive" to the country's economic and national security, he was forced to sign them into law on Friday after he failed to reach a deal with congressional Republicans to cancel the automatic reductions.

The sequester was created during the 2011 debt ceiling battle. It was an attempt by the White House get a divided Congress to work together to come up with a deal to save $1.2 trillion on the deficit over 10 years. The idea was that by putting in $85bn worth of cuts that would be painful to both sides, the congressional supercommittee of Republicans and Democrats would have to play nicely and hammer out another deal before it was triggered. But stubborn Congress members won the game of "deficit chicken" when it kicked in on Friday.

Obama had affirmed NASA's goals of sending a manned mission to an asteroid by 2025 and trying to get folks to the Red Planet in the 2030s, but if the government can't come up with a new plan, budget cuts are likely to delay the missions.

"We continue to develop the space technologies to make these missions possible even as we marvel at the ingenuity of our commercial partners in taking us to low Earth orbit on a regular basis," Bolden said in a canned statement. "Unfortunately, all of this progress could be jeopardised with the sequestration ordered by law to be signed by the President Friday evening.

"The sequester could further delay the restarting of human space launches from US soil, push back our next generation space vehicles, hold up development of new space technologies, and jeopardise our space-based, Earth observing capabilities," he added.

Bolden used the Dragon's difficulties to point out that space exploration is no easy task.

"Launching rockets is difficult, and while the team faced some technical challenges after Dragon separation from the launch vehicle, they called upon their thorough knowledge of their systems to successfully troubleshoot and fully recover all vehicle capabilities. Dragon is now once again safely berthed to the station," he said.

The space agency head was also at pains to mention the value of a well-funded space programme.

"We must remember that all of our investments in space are creating good jobs here on Earth and helping to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math," he said.

NASA's budget faces a nine per cent reduction from the sequestration cuts. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.