From: Planetary Exploration Newsletter
Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Mark V. Sykes Planetary Science Institute
NASA (and the Administration) has not had a good track record of late, putting the cart way before the horse with the recent EPO reorganization debacle, Mars 2020, and the Asteroid Retrieval Mission. Sometimes plans can go awry, as with the rephasing of research awards in 2010 to free up money to cover an MSL cost overrun. Failure to cover those rephased obligations in subsequent years was the primary reason for a collapse in proposal selection rates.
The planetary research and analysis programs, along with mission data analysis programs, support most of the US planetary community. Their streamlining could provide benefits. A misstep could permanently damage US solar system exploration capability. The plan laid out by Jim Green is very vague: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/pss/nov2013/Green__Rall_PSS_Nov%20_2013.pdf
(beginning on slide 41). Its implementation is premature. So, it is very good that NASA is reaching out to the community for input. This should be the first step in a more extended process that will transparently and iteratively add important details and well-defined improvements to any reorganization plan. It is far more important to get it right, than to rush and cause harm.
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