Mars Program Facing Collapse SpaceDaily

At last week’s meeting of the NASA Advisory Council — held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — there was a great deal of news about new developments in Mars exploration besides the revelations (already reported in “SpaceDaily”) that the two U.S. rovers intended for launch in 2003 are still running into problems that may possibly delay arrival of one or both of them at Mars by as much as four years. The remainder of the decade’s program has run into additional problems — not linked to the U.S., but to difficulties and likely program cancellations in the Mars projects of three different European nations, two of them partnered with the U.S.. And a whole series of additional factors — including the massive cost of a Mars sample return mission — are forcing the U.S. to radically revise its post-2009 Mars program, including the form of the first sample-return mission.