Trump Mulls Slashing Funds To NASA's Longest-running Mars Orbiter- '2001 Mars Odyssey'

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In a major setback to NASA's mars ambitions, President Trump's 2021 annual budget has proposed cuts to 2001 mars Odyssey mission, as per international reports

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
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In a major setback to NASA's mars ambitions, President Trump's 2021 annual budget has proposed cuts to 2001 mars Odyssey mission, as per international reports. Reports stated that the Trump administration has also threatened NASA missions like the jet-borne telescope SOFIA and has proposed to reduce the Odyssey's budget to a million dollars - effectively ending the mission.  This development comes amidst the US Congress proposing a bill urging NASA to push back its moon landing mission to 2028 instead of 2024 and focus on the Mars.

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What does 2001 Mars Odyssey do?

Launched in April 2001 is a space orbiter mission that was armed with spectrometers and a thermal imager to detect evidence of water and ice on the red planet, as well as to study the planet's geology and radiation environment. By 2008, Mars Odyssey had mapped the basic distribution of water below the shallow surface and NASA's Phoenix lander confirmed the presence of water on Mars. By December 15, 2010, it broke the record for the longest-serving spacecraft at Mars, with 3,340 days of operation, claiming the title from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and currently hold the same title.

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SpaceX's Mars plans

While NASA's Mars plans are threatened, SpaceX has already announced its aspiration to send its first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. While SpaceX's first mission with its aircraft 'Starship' is aimed at confirming resources, identifying hazards and to place initial power, mining and life support infrastructure, the second mission will carry both cargo and crew and is scheduled for 2024. The second mission is aimed at building a propellant depot for future crew flights beginning the foundation of the first Mars Base - which Musk hopes to evolve into a self-sustaining civilization.

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NASA's Mars 2020 rover

NASA is currently gearing for Mars 2020 rover named 'Perseverance' is based on its predecessor 'Curiosity' which was launched in 2011. The car-sized rover which is about 10 feet long,  9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall weighs 1050 kgs, which is less than a compact car. The official launch window of the mission is July 17- August 5, 2020, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The rover is expected to land on February 18, 2021, at Jezero Crater, Mars. The mission is expected to last for about 687 Earth days which is one Mars year.

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