By Mark Memmott
When the Obama administration's 2011 budget is released this morning, among the stories buried within its pages will be this:
NASA's mission to return astronauts to the moon would be grounded with the space agency instead getting an additional $5.9 billion over five years to encourage private companies to build, launch and operate their own spacecraft for the benefit of NASA and others. NASA would pay the private companies to carry U.S. astronauts. (Associated Press.)
The Obama administration instead will fund research into technology that would be used for a manned mission to Mars. An estimated $6 billion will be dispersed to the private sector to develop "space taxis" to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and back.
The moon mission, the administration has decided, isn't affordable at a time when the federal government is racking up record deficits.
Congress, of course, could disagree with the administration on this. We wonder:
We'll hold the question open until 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.