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Obama proposes ending Mars Odyssey, Mars Opportunity in NASA budget


According to a March 13, 2014 story on Fox News, two venerable but successful Mars probes face the budget ax by the Obama administration in the FY 2015 funding request for NASA.

“NASA’s baseline budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 pulls the plug on the 10-year-old Mars rover Opportunity, newly released details of the agency’s fiscal 2015 spending plan show.

“The plan, which requires Congressional approval, also anticipates ending the orbiting Mars Odyssey mission on Sept. 30, 2016.”

Mars Opportunity, along with its now defunct sister rover Mars Spirit, has been rolling across the Martian surface for the past ten years, making numerous discoveries about past water and other aspects of the Red Planet’s geology. Mars Odyssey has been in orbit around Mars even longer than that, using long range sensors to detect signs of past water and volcanic activity. It has also served as a communications relay for Mars rovers such as Opportunity and Curiosity,

However the Obama administration is offering a $56 billion so-called “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative” over and beyond the spending levels agreed to that would be split between defense and non defense spending. NASA would get $886 million of which extending planetary missions like Mars Opportunity and Mars Odyssey would get $35 million.

Of course everything is subject to approval by Congress, which is likely to have its own priorities.

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