Craig Stevens 202.225.3671

Representative Weldon Disappointed with Mars Polar Lander Failure But Encourages Optimism

WASHINGTON, DC- – In the face of the apparent failure of the Mars Polar
Lander, U.S. Representative Dave Weldon (Florida 15), Vice Chairman of the
House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics made the following

“In light of the very recent failures of NASA’s two most recent Mars missions
this is cause for a serious review of our unmanned space exploration

“I support NASA’s faster, better, cheaper philosophy, but it must be tempered
with a commitment to mitigating risks at all levels. We have already seen
how reducing quality control in search of fiscal savings has hurt our
expendable launch vehicles. In essence, NASA is having to do more with
fewer resources. Are we being penny-wise but pound foolish?

“I think the troubles we are seeing in our space effort are demonstrative of
a systemic problem that can be addressed through appropriate review and
appropriate funding, which will yield better management and oversight.

“I want to be clear, the mission, while a disappointment, should now be a
stepping-stone to improving our space efforts. It is ultimately our destiny
to explore the heavens, and I believe a prosperous future depends on it.
Even in failure, we continue to grow, learn more, and continue to lay the
ground work for human exploration of Mars, as well as an aggressive robotic
exploration effort. The Mars Polar Lander will not be remembered for what
it did but rather how we responded to it.”