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Congress Grills NASA Chief on Planetary Science Cuts

posted Mar 21, 2012, 1:19 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Mar 21, 2012, 2:06 PM ]
By Denise Chow, Space.com, 03.21.12

"I grieve for my country — I grieve for NASA. There's no way you can say the [NASA] planetary program can survive a cut of 21 percent." -- Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas)

Lawmakers grilled NASA chief Charles Bolden today (March 21), saying the deep cuts to NASA's planetary science program in the agency's 2013 budget request will "cannibalize" future Mars exploration and threaten America's leadership in space.

Bolden testified before members of the U.S. House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee that approves NASA's annual budget in a hearing this morning in Washington, D.C. Throughout the nearly three-hour-long hearing, Bolden fielded tough questions from Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike.

One particularly contentious topic was how cuts to NASA's planetary science division could jeopardize future robotic missions to Mars and other intriguing destinations in the solar system.

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[Image: NASA]