Mars Rovers Dodge NASA Cuts

Budget called for 1 to hibernate, 1 to go part-time
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 7:10 AM CDT
NASA's Mars Exploration rover Spirit is shown on the 1,277th Martian day in this Aug. 6, 2007, file photo. NASA's administrator overruled plans to hibernate the rovers due to budget cuts.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – NASA has spared its far-flung Mars rovers from budget cuts, reports the Washington Post, after its administrator got wind of the plan to hibernate Spirit and roll Opportunity back to part time. "Closing down either of the rovers is not on the table," his spokesman said, and underlings are looking elsewhere for cuts.

"Where we are is where we were a week ago: The budget is tight, and we've got two aging but productive rovers on the surface of Mars doing good science," said the chief scientist. Cost overruns of $100 million on the two rovers’ replacement, the Mars Science Laboratory, have forced NASA to squeeze other Mars programs, including the long-lived Mars Odyssey.