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Planetary scientists seething over NASA cuts

Scientists engaged in the study of planets are being unfairly singled out for budget cuts under President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal for NASA, the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference was told.

At the meeting in Texas last month, Jim Bell, president of the Planetary Society, said of the Obama administration: “They have decided to single out planetary science for a massively disproportionate budget cut compared to other parts of NASA, with the exception of the cancelled space shuttle.” He added the “successful” Mars programme was targeted for the lion’s share of these reductions. If implemented, he said, these cuts would undermine NASA’s plan to explore the solar system and other planetary systems for evidence of present or past habitable worlds, a focus of public interest in the nation’s space programme.

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