writes "According to the Guardian, a panel of experts and former astronauts appointed by Barack Obama, and led by retired Lockheed Martin chairman Norman Augustine, is going to state that there is simply no money to go back to the moon, and the next-generation Ares I rocket is likely to be scrapped unless there is more funding. The $81bn Constellation Program's long-term goal of putting a human on Mars is almost certainly not going to be possible by the middle of the century. The options outlined by the panel for the future of Nasa "are to extend the working life of the ageing space shuttle fleet beyond next year's scheduled retirement until 2015, while developing a cheaper transport to the moon; pressing ahead with Constellation as quickly as existing funding allows; or creating a new, larger rocket that would allow exploration of the solar system while bypassing the moon." All of this means that Nasa won't be back on the moon before the end of the next decade as hoped, "or even leaving lower Earth orbit for at least another two decades". Another result of the monetary black hole is that they don't have the "$300m to expand a network of telescopes and meet the government's target of identifying, by 2020, at least 90% of the giant space rocks that pose a threat to Earth"."