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Archive for Friday, August 18, 2006

NASA advisers opposed to science cuts resign

August 18, 2006

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— Three NASA advisers who spoke out against budget cuts to the space agency's science programs turned in their resignations this week, officials said Thursday.

Wesley Huntress, Charles Kennel and Eugene Levy each served on the NASA Advisory Council's science committee. Kennel resigned by choice, but Huntress and Levy were asked to leave by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

Levy, a professor of physics and astronomy who also is provost at Rice University in Houston, said their commitment to a broad science program at NASA "didn't comport with the kind of advice that the administrator and the chairman of the committee were looking for."

Levy said he understood the budget constraints on NASA, but "we were certainly concerned that a strong commitment to science be maintained."

An assistant said Kennel was on vacation and couldn't be reached, and Huntress didn't return phone calls to his office.

NASA has come under fire in the past year for limiting growth in its science budget to 1.5 percent next year and 1 percent each year through the end of the decade. The limits should help the agency pay to finish the international space station and prepare sending astronauts back to the moon.

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