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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cutting our place in the world to save half pennies on the dollar.

NASA is shut down under the sequester (except for ongoing experiments like those on Mars). All external communication, external education, PR, future programs and the commercial crew program are shut down, and the private-public partnerships (like getting things to and from International Space Station) are greatly curtailed. Large cuts to private US companies involved in shuttling to space, trips to Mars or the moon, the asteroid projects, etc. (while foreign companies and nations continue to invest heavily in space). Space camp, school science programs, the very image of going into science as a career are hurt by the big cuts that are sequester. No travel budgets to international or domestic symposiums and meetings (a major part of NASA's image and leadership in the world is being there and taking the lead). 

It is a "death by a thousand cuts" with cut backs, layoffs, and no new hires in most areas. Scientist and people who invested in the future of the space program (student loans, homes by research facilities, and so on) will be hit hardest. Short term no impact on us as a leader in Science, but overall it will cause major problems and push the US way down from our current number one position.

The entire NASA budget is less than half a percent of our entire federal budget. Cuts are making a world wide statement about the decline of the US, without actually doing much good in cuts. And is NASA an entitlement or a necessity? How about education? Health programs?

From the Reporter's Notebook on NPR's To the Point (click here).

Sequester Cuts Take a Bite out of Science

Scientific research is “not an activity that you can turn on and off from year to year.” That's according to the former director of the National Institutes of Health, who says last month's budget cuts will be a “disaster” for progress in medicine. Last week, Congress approved major cuts for NASA. What does it all mean for the future of science? Ian Chant is science and technology writer and senior editor at the website

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