News of the WeekU.S. SPACE SCIENCE

Earmarks, Rising Costs Threaten NASA Missions

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Science  22 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5487, pp. 2018
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5487.2018

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The House and Senate are working out a final 2001 budget plan that should leave NASA with a small increase over this year. But the increase will be more than swallowed up by projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars that politicians have added to satisfy their constituents. At the same time, rising mission costs in the wake of two recent Mars failures are forcing agency officials to steal money from lower priority efforts such as a trip to Pluto. The two trends, warn NASA and science community officials, could prove devastating to NASA's space science efforts.