NASA's most recent missions to Mars failed because they were underfunded, managed by inexperienced people, and insufficiently tested.
That was the scathing message of a report recently delivered to the space agency and made public this week. The mantra of "faster, better, cheaper" promoted by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin in the early 1990s remains worthy, A. Thomas Young, former executive vice president of Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md., told reporters at a March 28 briefing in Washington, D.C. But too much emphasis on the "cheaper" has jeopardized the Mars exploration program, says the report, echoing several other recent studies.
Young chaired a NASA-appointed panel that investigated the Mars program after the loss last year of the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter, the $165 million Mars Polar Lander,