NASA, burdened with far more missions and demands than its $17B budget can support, has proposed cutting out its leading-edge technology development center - the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). To save a mere $4M a year, the agency will end research into topics as diverse (and, in the long term, vital) as improved spacesuits and exotic propulsion technologies. Meanwhile, future missions in the Lunar Robotic Precursor Program will go over the side, along with the innovative "Red Planet" venture capital fund program.
COMMENT: Yes, the NASA Administrator reports to the President and must do his best with the budget he's given. I know this is easy for me to say, since my job isn't on the line, but Administrator Mike Griffin must be forthright and public about the fact NASA flat-out cannot accomplish its missions with anything like the budget it has today. The train wreck has arrived.