The former chief of NASA feels that exploration of other planets, especially Mars, is irrational in view of the fund crisis and proposes that the efforts be cut to minimize losses. NASA plans to do away with two joint missions with Europeans to explore Mars in 2016 and 2018 and reallocate its funds.
The situation has arisen because of the need to replace the existing Hubble Space Telescope with a more powerful one that can reach further into the Universe. The new James Webb Space Telescope would be 100 times ore powerful and would cost nearly $8-billion – its original estimate was $3.5-billion.
Of course, some Mars work would continue but the future of projects like that of bringing back to Earth samples of rocks from the red planet hangs in the balance.
As a result the hopes of US President Barack Obama to land astronauts on the red planet Mars might suffer a major setback.