Mar 31, 2015 11:44 AM EDT
With funding problems many of NASA's Mars missions are in turmoil. NASA's budget has been axed a bit by the government. Average budget required by NASA is more than 14 million required per year. Now that the budget is in jeopardy, NASA has decided to invest less in missions regarding Mars and the moon.
The Mars Opportunity Rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will not be completed by 2016. The new nuclear powered Curiosity rover is the only other space probe currently on Mars and consumes a huge amount of resources for its operations. It looks like NASA may have to end this as the new budget for 2016 does not includes money for opportunity even though this mission was termed as the highest of all current Mars missions by an agency Senior Review panel ranking. The other option for NASA is discretionary funds if that is possible or it will have to wind up both the missions.
The head of NASA's Planetary Science Division, James Green stated that the current budget proposed by the government is not enough to cover everything. He also said that in President Obama's NASA budget for 2016, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Opportunity rover have zeroed out.
The opportunity rover is presently in top condition and is set to explore Marathon Valley in Mars. Looks like this will be the last exploring expedition it will be doing. On the other hand, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is collecting and sending impressive data about the moon and unearthing more secrets present on the moon.
Scientists still hope that there may be a way of gathering funds and keeping these two missions ongoing. But NASA administrator Charles Bolden, has made it plain that at least the Opportunity's days are numbered or "whose time has passed".
The Opportunity Rover started its quest on Mars in 2004 and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009.
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