Will Mars Rover Opportunity Fall Victim to Budget Cuts?

posted: 03/31/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Martian surface

Mars rover Opportunity may not be roving the Red Planet for much longer. The rover is rumored to be on the chopping block with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as NASA faces proposed budget cuts for both programs for the 2016 fiscal year.

It is important to note, however, that neither program was officially funded in the 2015 fiscal year budget request. Funds were later allocated to keep both missions afloat through the end of the current fiscal year.

Opportunity has long outlived its original 90-day mission (it recently completed a marathon), although the rover has been experiencing problems with its flash memory in recent weeks. For over 11 years, the rover has been scouring the Martian surface for hints of water. Similarly, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been orbiting the moon for five years as it constructs a 3-D map of the lunar surface.

Should Opportunity find itself grounded, the selfie-snapping Curiosity rover will still be funded.

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