We just posted a more official response to last night's welcome news of the restoration of two erstwhile descoped science instruments to the next Mars rover mission, MSL, to be launched in 2009. Here it is:
Yesterday, NASA Associate Administrator Alan Stern sent a letter to the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) announcing that NASA will now accommodate two of the science instruments they had previously cut from the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) and the Laser-Induced Remote Sensing for Chemistry and Micro-Imaging (ChemCam) are now restored to the project.
This is a victory for space science and Mars exploration -- The Planetary Society had protested the decision to cut these instruments from the project. We congratulate and thank Alan Stern for overturning this earlier decision. We also commend the many scientists on the experiment teams -- as well as the cooperating organizations at Malin Space Science Systems, Los Alamos National Laboratories, and at the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales who provided resources to help reverse the decision.
And, as always, we thank the members of The Planetary Society who provide the support to allow us to continue to be an effective advocate for Mars exploration.