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A gas plume on Mars could turn out to be the most important discovery of the decade....hotspots of methane gas emission, extremely localized plumes whose concentration fades quickly in time...
...NASA team leader Michael Mumma puts forward the idea that subterranean bacteria could be producing the noxious fumes...
The Mars Science Laboratory, a souped-up Mars rover scheduled to launch next year might be delayed, scaled down or canceled due to technical problems and cost overruns. The nuclear powered rover designed to search for microbial life on the Red Planet, has already cost $1.5 billion and if it reaches a 30-percent cost overrun, it could be cancelled by Congress.
Aviation Week reports that officials from the agency's Mars Exploration Program (MEP) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will brief NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Science Associate Administrator Ed Weiler this Friday and attempt to work out a potential solution. Delaying the rover's mission until 2011 would be costly, but Weiler has said that JPL is so stretched trying to make the 2009 launch window that the result could be "a nuclear crater on Mars."
Griffin opted to keep the spacecraft's launch on schedule for next year and chose not to delay or cancel the troubled mission. "It's easy to say let's just cancel it and move on, but we've poured over $1.5 billion into this, the science is critical and it's a flagship mission in the Mars program," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate.
Originally posted by ziggystar60
The 2009 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory may not go as planned, according to this report in universetoday.com from October 7:
[SNIP] Delaying the rover's mission until 2011 would be costly, but Weiler has said that JPL is so stretched trying to make the 2009 launch window that the result could be "a nuclear crater on Mars."