Tight budget quashes US space ambitions: panel AFP

US ambitions for manned space exploration have hit a major hurdle in the wake of severe budget constraints, according to preliminary findings of a panel appointed by President Barack Obama.
Reaching Mars was deemed too risky while returning to the Moon by 2020 was ruled out barring an additional three billion dollars per year to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet and build bigger rockets, according to the group led by Norm Augustine, a former CEO of US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
“Really, we’ve given the White House a dilemma. The space program we have today, the human space flight program, really isn’t executable with the money we have,” Augustine told PBS public television last week.