NASA needs more money, because let's face it, rocket launches ain't cheap. The good news is, it looks like they'll be getting some. Not as much as they want, but some.
In October, NASA said they would need $US3 billion more per year to go forward with meaningful human space-exploration (i.e. not just sending more robots into space). For a while there were rumours going around that Washington was going to severely scale back the program's budget, but now according to Washington insider John Logsdon, "there will be more money".
He's also saying that Obama doesn't want to be that president who cuts a future-oriented program. So he'll keep it alive, but he'll only give them a budget somewhere between their current spending and the $US3 billion per year increase NASA is looking for. But all that means is that NASA will have to buddy up with international space programs a little more.
Let's face it, we weren't going to get to Mars on our own anyway. As long as NASA is still alive and there's still a remote chance of me seeing a mission to Mars in my lifetime, I'm a happy camper. [New Scientist, image via Matthew Simantov]