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Earth Science Link – Legacy Missions

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Earth Science Link – Legacy Missions

Legacy spaceflight and Earth science programs are zero sum 11 (Source – Euroconsult, The leading international research and analyst firm specialized in space, “NASA Spending Shift to Benefit Centers Focused on Science & Technology”, 6/8/11, JPG

Euroconsult, the leading international consulting and analyst firm specializing in the space sector, along with the consulting firm Omnis, today announced the findings of a study today foreseeing a significant shift in NASA spending toward Earth science and R&D programs and away from legacy spaceflight activities. According to the report "NASA Spending Outlook: Trends to 2016," NASA's budget, which will remain flat at around $18.7 billion for the next five years, will also be characterized by significant shifts from space operations to technology development and science. With the shift in budget authority, NASA Centers focused on Earth observation, space technology, and aeronautics will see increases in funding, while those involved in human spaceflight will see major funding reductions. Indeed, the termination of the Space Shuttle program will lead to a budget cut over $1 billion for Space Operations, resulting in a 21% budget cut for the Johnson Space Center. Overall, the agency's budget for R&D will account for about 50% of all NASA spending. "Budget allocation across Centers will vary greatly," said Steve Bochinger, President of Euroconsult North America. "As NASA shifts priorities for human spaceflight from Shuttle operations to Human Exploration Capabilities and commercial spaceflight, the budget will be redirected to a range of technology development programs. Likewise, as NASA shifts its science mission focus away from space science to Earth science, the science budget will be redistributed among centers." This shift in NASA's priorities will also affect the agency's contract spending. As large legacy programs end, new research and development programs will be initiated. This turnover of programs should provide many new contracting opportunities over the next five years, especially at Research Centers. The Euroconsult/Omnis report details these changes."The uniqueness of this report is that it brings together in one picture NASA's budget, spending and contracting, providing insights into opportunities created by the new NASA direction," said Bretton Alexander, Senior Consultant for Omnis.

Earth Science Link – Lunar Missions

A mission to the moon kills NASA’s science budget
Albanesius 10 (Chloe, editor @, “Obama Budget Cuts Moon Program, Boosts R&D”, 2/1/10, JPG

Among the programs on the chopping block are NASA's Constellation Systems Program, an effort to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2020. The $3.466 billion program, which started in 2005, is woefully behind schedule, and a review conducted in May 2009 found that the program probably won't put anyone on the Moon until well into the 2030's. Instead, the White House would increase NASA's overall budget in order to focus on climate science, green aviation, science education, and other priorities. It would also encourage NASA to leverage advanced technology, international partnerships, and commercial capabilities in its quest to return to the Moon. Also getting the proposed axe is the $12 million EP-X manned surveillance program and a $9 million revamped command and control center, both within the Department of Defense, as well as a $73 million infrared missile warning satellite program.

Funding space exploration causes shortfalls in the science budget
Olsen 6 (Stefanie, staff writer @ CNET, “NASA budget emphasizes space exploration”, 2/6/6, JPG

Science will play a diminishing role at NASA as the space agency emphasizes lunar exploration in the next five years, according to a new governmental budget. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who was appointed to the office by the Bush administration only 10 months ago, announced a $16.8 billion budget request for NASA on Monday, per recommendations from President Bush. The budget, outlined in a press briefing here at NASA Ames Research Center, is a 3.2 percent rise over expected 2006 spending. It comprised about 0.7 percent of the federal budget. "This is a modest investment to extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research," Griffin said. NASA's spending, Griffin said, will concentrate on implementing Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, a plan the president announced roughly two years ago to launch human missions to the moon. Science, such as studying the solar system or the origin of the universe, will play a lesser role at NASA organizations, resulting in cutbacks to divisions like astrobiology studies and life sciences at Ames Research Center. Ames' life sciences budget was cut by roughly 80 percent in November 2005, resulting in the loss of 100 contractor jobs.

Earth Science Link – Mars

Mars mission depletes intellectual resources for a decade – kills studying climate change

Christianson 3/11 (J Scott, writer @ Columbia Daily Tribune, “We can’t afford manned mission to Mars”, JPG

A manned mission to Mars will tie up most of NASA’s intellectual resources for a decade or more as they toil on an incredibly expensive project whose success and scientific value is uncertain. The American public should have a better chance of receiving a decent return on its investment in NASA. Perhaps the most compelling argument for not proceeding with a manned mission to Mars is NASA’s great success with unmanned missions to Mars and other planets. These “smaller, cheaper, faster” space probes have been extremely useful and cost-effective and have proved themselves capable of performing real science or, at the very least, capable of being the on-the-ground technicians for scientists safely located on Earth. A better use of NASA’s budget for exploration and planetary science would be to fund several smaller unmanned missions to explore Mars and other planets, thus spreading out both the risks and the rewards. While some of these are bound to fail, most of these little probes would be successful, and several would be successful beyond their original design. The Spirit and Opportunity probes continue to operate on Mars some five years past their original mission of 90 days. Even Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is still operating some 30 years later. Investing in several smaller missions with clear scientific goals offers much more reward for the risk. If NASA is to receive more appropriations, it should be for investigating problems here on Earth. Studying climate change is an unprecedented opportunity to learn about a sophisticated planetary processes happening right here, right now. Moreover, we need NASA to not just document the effects of global warming and other environmental problems but provide us with possible solutions and new technologies addressing these challenges. Solving the problem of global warming would be a greater step for mankind than any trip to space and is much more deserving of public investments. Landing humans on Mars and bringing them back safely would be a great technological feat and no doubt resplendent with numerous spinoff technologies, but it is not one of the major technical problems currently facing the human race. A manned mission to Mars will happen someday, but we should concentrate our scientific resources on figuring out how to leave future generations with a habitable Earth and leave it to them to discover how to make it to Mars.

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