NASA’s aging research labs are in dire need of an overhaul, says a report from National Academies. Some 80% of the agency’s research facilities are more than 40 years old, and its deferred maintenance bill has risen from $1.77 billion in 2004 to $2.46 billion in 2009.
The New York Times reports how one of the labs, the Ames Research Center in California, has a top-notch supercomputer, but not the $15 million power-supply that would protect it from frying.
Maybe NASA should have worked harder to point out that it does a fair bit of basic aeronautics and science research, thereby jumping on the America COMPETES bandwagon?
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget would rectify a lot of the problems cited in the report — transferring money from the putatively canceled Constellation moon-rocket programme to long-term technology development and research.
But so far he hasn’t had much luck getting legislators in Congress to play along. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is on Capitol Hill again today trying to convince legislators of the wisdom of the plan.