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article imageNASA's next Mars Rover reaches $2.5 billion, $82 million needed

By Andrew Moran     Feb 4, 2011 in Science
Los Angeles - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's next Mars Rover is expected to be launched by the end of the year, but NASA officials are seeking an extra $82 million as its price tag, thus far, has reached $2.5 billion.
Although space exploration can assist in our understanding of our origins and humanity’s jump into a Type I, II and III civilization, it is quite a heavy penny, especially at a time when Western economies are bottoming out and governments are being forced into cutting spending.
In the next nine months, NASA scientists and astronomers are preparing for the next mission to send a Rover to Mars. The U.S. space agency has hit a snag, though, to the tune of approximately $82 million.
According to the Associated Press, NASA’s flagship mission has a current price tag of $2.5 billion and NASA has already spent most of its reserves in order to fund this operation. Therefore, in front of the NASA Advisory Council, officials announced they were seeking the extra funds for additional testing before liftoff.
Why does NASA need these funds? Where will it go?
During a subcommittee meeting at the end of last month, director of NASA's Planetary Sciences Division in the U.S. space agency's Science Mission Directorate, Jim Green, said the three percent increase in cost is due to problems with developing avionics, mobility, drill and radar for the Rover.
“Our problem right now is MLS (Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity,” said Green, reports “It has virtually no encumbered reserves left. That money's got to be identified and that money's got to be in the budget. At the end of the day if we don't use it all, then we have flexibility, but it's got to be there when we need it.”
CBS News notes that NASA experienced developmental and financial setbacks before, which led to a two-year delay of launch. To date, this is the most expensive mission to the Red Planet.
More about NASA, Mars rover, Mars, Budget
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