NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory: Blastoff in 2009…or Slip City? LiveScience

A NASA decision may be forthcoming on the cost-overrun and highly complex Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Will a decision be made to stay the course to Mars with a liftoff next year…or move it to 2011?…or decide its fate at a later time? But time is running out. The call itself is expected to come from NASA chief, Mike Griffin.
MSL is being tagged as “the first real astrobiology mission to Mars” – with a price tag sailing past $2 billion. The project has already exceeded the 15 percent “overguide”, (that’s an “overrun” in taxpayer parlance) set by Congress in the fiscal year 2008 NASA authorization law.
The next overguide benchmark is 30 percent. MSL’s total cost overrun is expected to be between 33 and 40 percent.
Why not delay the launch to 2011? Doing so will cost NASA an additional $300 million – $400 million.