When in doubt, blame NASA budget cuts

An article by Technology Review magazine covers what is familiar ground for most readers here: the cutbacks in NASA’s science budget and the resulting cancellations and delays in various programs. However, in its zeal to cover all the programs—big and small, high priority and low—affected by the cuts, the article goes a little too far:

NASA budget cuts over the last few months have also struck spending for astrobiology programs, meant to learn about life in the rest of the universe; a new program called Beyond Einstein, aimed at learning about dark energy; and the cancellation or cutback in other research satellites, including one called NPOESS, designed to gather more information about the Earth and its climate.

[Emphasis added above.] While the planned NASA science budget cutbacks have hurt a number of programs, they have nothing to do with the long-running, multi-billion-dollar snafus that have caused the NPOESS program (for which NASA shares responsibility with the Defense Department and NOAA) to be delayed and descoped. Let’s not get carried away with the budgetary hand-wringing.

[Disclosure: I worked for Technology Review for about a year several years ago (back in the last millennium, actually).]

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