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Astrobiology under assault

NASA budget for Fiscal 2007 would slash funds for space science research

Ted Agres
The Bush administration has proposed cutting support for astrobiology at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by 50% in Fiscal 2007, as part of a 25% overall reduction in solar system research. Scientists and NASA officials warn that the proposed cut, contained in the president's budget request released last month, will adversely affect future generations of researchers.Carl B. Pilcher, NASA's senior scientist for astrobiology, said the cut would send the wrong signal to universities that had, at NASA's prompting, established astrobiology programs during the past decade. "The impact [of the cut] is not only on the amount of research that NASA can support, but also the willingness of universities and other organizations to make investments of their own in this field," Pilcher told The Scientist."Astrobiology is the reason we go into space, to answer fundamental questions about the origins of life and how it evolved, and whether there...

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