The latest from John Whitehead

  • Letter: Mars Sample Return Key Link Still Missing

    Recent news articles about uncertain NASA Mars budgets have repeatedly noted that the next rover or orbiter must lead to sample return, formalized last year as the highest priority among future planetary missions [“Former Mars Czar Tapped To Lead NASA’s Mars Reboot,” March 5, page 7; “NASA Seeks Ideas for Next Mars Mission,” April 16, page 3; and “$17.5B NASA Spending Bill Favors Planetary Probes over Crew Taxis,” April 30, page 1].

  • Letter: Open Science, Closed Engineering in Survey

    Here is a key point to add to your coverage of the new U.S. decadal survey for planetary science planning, including “NASA Money Woes Batter Planetary Flagship Budget” [March 21, page 14] and “Discovery Deferred — Indefinitely” [editorial, March 21, page 18]. As reported, Mars sample return is the highest-priority flagship mission, but the latest budget expectations may prevent it from happening.