Sunday, December 23, 2007

NASA delays 2011 mission

Mystery surrounds a decision by NASA to disband a board whose job it was to select the winning proposal for the $475 million Mars atmospheric probe. Citing a serious conflict of interest, NASA disbanded the original board and formed an entirely new one. The administrative delay means that the mission schedule has slipped and the probe will not be able to launch until 2013. NASA is keeping the precise nature of the problem to itself because revealing details would compromise the selection process, saying only "In preparing for the evaluation of Mars Scout Concept Study Reports for the final selection, NASA identified an organizational conflict of interest. NASA determined action had to be taken to resolve the conflict in order to maintain a fair competition."