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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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House Panel Wants NASA to Plan Mars Sample Return
18 April 2012 1:18 pm
A House of Representatives spending panel has proposed a NASA budget for 2013 that allocates $150 million toward the development of a Mars sample return mission within the next decade. The bill, drafted by the House appropriations subcommittee for commerce, science and justice, includes language that would forbid NASA from spending the money until the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academies can certify that the mission concept chosen by the agency will lead to returning a martian sample to Earth.
The language signals that lawmakers intend to make NASA follow through on assurances, made by agency officials, that NASA is not abandoning Mars exploration despite the decision to pull out of the European-led ExoMars missions of 2016 and 2018. NASA recently established a Mars Program Planning Group that is soliciting ideas for a new Mars mission that the agency hopes will be a stepping stone toward a longer term goal of sending humans to the Red Planet. That group is supposed to deliver a report in the next 6 months.
If an NRC review of NASA's mission concept concludes that it will not lead to a sample return, the bill directs the agency to spend the $150 million on developing a mission to orbit Europa, one of Jupiter's icy moons. That would be in line with the priorities laid out in the NRC's planetary science decadal survey, released in March 2011.
The House bill provides $5.095 billion overall for NASA science—$5 million above the FY 2012 level. It includes $628 million for the James Webb Space Telescope.
A Senate spending panel released its version of NASA's 2013 budget yesterday.
Correction, 19 April: The House bill provides $5 million above the FY 2012 level, not $5 million less than the president's request as originally reported.