Planetary scientist Alan Stern has announced that he is stepping down as NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, the head role in the space agency's science programs. His departure was unexpected, and the agency gave no reason for the sudden departure.
The shakeup in NASA science comes the same week that NASA officials suggested that the Mars rover program would face a $4 million cut in its budget, potentially resulting in one of the rovers being shut down for lack of funds. NASA administrator Michael Griffin has now reversed those budget cuts, and has stated that no rover will be shut down. The space agency said in a statement that the initial letter regarding the budget cuts "was not coordinated with the administrator's office and is in the process of being rescinded."
NPR science correspondent David Kestenbaum discusses the week in NASA news.