Space Sticker Shock; January 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by George Musser; 2 Page(s)
In October, NASA announced that the $1.5-billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a car-size rover planned for launch this fall, had become the $2-billion Mars Science Laboratory. When first conceived, it was the $650-million Mars Science Laboratory. Even more egregious is the $1-billion-make-that-$4.5-billion James Webb Space Telescope, successor to Hubble. Complex projects of any kind¿not only in the space program¿always cost more than anticipated. But experts say the agency could¿and needs to¿do better.
¿We have to accept the fact that there will be some cost overruns, but I think a lot of it could be mitigated if we managed things differently,¿ insists Sushil K. Atreya of the University of Michigan, a member of the MSL team and of a National Research Council (NRC) panel that evaluated NASA¿s planetary exploration program last year.