I am not going to write a long post about the recent proposal to cut NASA's planetary exploration budget, mainly because other people have already done so here, here, and here (and many other places as well). I do, however, would like to share a few quotes from these articles that I feel perfectly summarize the issue:
"There is no other country or agency that can do what NASA does—fly extraordinary flagship missions in deep space and land spacecraft on Mars. If this budget is allowed to stand, the United States will walk away from decades of greatness in space science and exploration. But it will lose more than that. The U.S. will lose expertise, capability, and talent. The nation will lose the ability to compete in one of the few areas in which it is still the undisputed number one."
- Bill Nye, Executive Director of the Planetary Society
". . .Reducing America’s presence in space- which is what the current budget amounts to- is a bold statement to the effect that the US is no longer looking outward. We’re no longer interested in pushing the boundaries of what we can do, because we seem to be more interested in wallowing around in what we can’t. . . . I’m interested in science and engineering and technology, not least because those things make life better for everyone . . . The technology we build today will help feed, clothe, and heal the people of tomorrow. . . ."
- Dark and Sinister Force for Good Blog