Spirits sagging: The end of the rover missions?
NASA's Spirit rover, currently exploring Mars, was only designed for an operational life of three months. Four years later both Spirit and its sibling, Opportunity, are a bit worse for wear but still going strong. Now I've just learned that Spirit is about to be waylaid not by the harsh Martian environment nor by mechanical failure but by budget cuts: the damnable US government is too busy pissing away money in Iraq to maintain the rover mission's $20 million per year budget1. The new budget of $16 million means that Spirit will have to be put in hybernation for the forseeable future while Opportunity will have its work cut back.
So, you can spend billions of dollars a year for an illegal and incompetently managed war but not an additional $4 million to unlock the secrets of the universe? Way to stick your heads in your asses, GOP.
More details can be found at The Martian Chronicles.
1 To be fair, the feds aren't directly to blame on this. NASA is given a limited budget, and they decided that it would be better to cut the rover funding and divert the $4 million elsewhere. Still, the sucky NASA budget comes from somewhere, and that somewhere has their priorities screwed up tremendously2.
2 Hey, dems, don't you control congress now? Shouldn't you, you know, do something about this?