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LOS ANGELES - Scientists plan to put one of the twin Mars rovers to sleep and limit the activities of the other robot to fulfill a NASA order to cut $4 million (Ð2.59 million) from the program’s budget, mission team members said.
The news comes amid belt-tightening at NASA headquarters, which is under pressure to cover cost overruns of a flagship Mars mission to land a Hummer-sized rover on the Red Planet next year.
The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) folks that operate the Spirit and Opportunity robots on the red planet have gotten some bad news.
A directive has come from NASA Headquarters to take a 40 percent financial cut in their program — some $4 million in the remaining months of fiscal year 2008.
SPACE.com has also learned that the venerable NASA Mars orbiter, Odyssey, is on the cost-cutting table, too. Odyssey has been in orbit since 2001.