Griffin Intervenes To Prevent Mars Rovers From Being Curtailed, Idled
NASA Science Chief Stern To Be Replaced By Edward Weiler
NASA officials were prepared to curtail movements of Mars Rover Opportunity and to shut down and hibernate Rover Spirit to save $4 million, until NASA Administrator Michael Griffin heard about the plan and nixed it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
NASA said it won’t shut off the rovers, which have lasted multiple times longer than their design lives, still roaming the red planet to examine geology, search for signs of water, and scan for any potential signs of life.
At the same time, Alan Stern, NASA science chief, will be replaced as associate NASA administrator for the Science Mission Directorate by Edward Weiler, director of Goddard Space Flight Center.
No reason was given for Stern’s abrupt departure.