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editorial | nasa budget

Science loses out to adventure

WALL-E OR Major Tom? Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s proposed cuts to NASA tilt in the wrong direction, preserving too much funding for a manned space program of questionable value even while slashing the agency’s more cost-effective robotic programs.

In its budget unveiled this week, the administration proposed slicing $300 million from NASA’s planetary science budget, a cut that would force the agency to pull out of unmanned Mars missions planned for 2016 and 2018. But it devotes $1 billion toward the Orion capsule, which would carry astronauts starting in 2021 - if it’s ever completed.

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