I am always saddened by the reports steps backward in recent years we’ve taken in the space program the following is from Scientific American about NASA’s budget.
“NASA just released its presidential budget request for 2013 and, as expected, the space agency’s planetary science program takes a big hit. The budget document (summary pdf) is merely the first volley in an often drawn-out exchange between the White House and Congress, but still sets the general direction for the space program. Although the Obama administration’s proposal would slice less than 1 percent from NASA’s current budget, it proposes some major shifts of funds within the agency.
The planetary science program, which received $1.5 billion for 2012, would take a 20 percent cut. NASA would still fly the Mars MAVEN atmospheric mission in 2013 but would back away from two joint missions with the European Space Agency:
NASA is terminating further activity on the formulation activity for the NASA/ ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter 2016 (EMTGO) mission and planning for the previous NASA/ESA Mars 2018 mission concept.
The latter mission would have included the first direct search for life on Mars since the Viking landers of the 1970s. With NASA bailing out, ESA is now casting around for another partner.”