Cancellation of Dawn Mission on Hold Pending Review By NASA Administrator

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Editor's note: knowledgeable sources within NASA and the planetary science community report that the impending cancellation of the Dawn asteroid exploration mission has been put on hold pending a review by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

Last thursday, upon returning to her office from that morning's House Science Committee hearing on NASA's FY 2007 Science Budget, NASA's Associate Administrator for its Space Science Mission Directorate, Mary Cleave cancelled the Discovery "Dawn" mission.

Curiously, with several hours during the hearing to do so, she did not bother to mention to the House Science Committee that she was about to do this.

Letter from PSI Director Sykes to House Science Committee Chair Boehlert Regarding Cancellation of NASA's Dawn Mission

"I was shocked that after testifying before your Committee yesterday, the first thing Dr. Mary Cleave did upon returning to her office at NASA Headquarters was to cancel the Dawn Discovery mission. She made no mention of her intention to do this while testifying."... "Considering the concern raised at the hearing yesterday about the poor reputation of NASA as an international partner, which reflects poorly on the US, cancelling Dawn is a surprise at that level as well."


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