Statement on Delay of Mars Science Laboratory

For Immediate Release
December 04, 2008

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Statement from Jim Bell, President of The Planetary Society, and a Cornell University Professor and planetary scientist:

“The decision to delay the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory to 2011 is a tough call for NASA and JPL, but it seems to be the right call given the unanticipated technical difficulties that mission designers and engineers have encountered in trying to meet the original 2009 launch schedule. Despite the disappointment of a delay, The Planetary Society agrees that it is better to solve any problems and thoroughly test MSL before launching the mission. Ultimately, what's most important is that MSL, one of the most exciting science exploration adventures of the upcoming decade, succeeds.”

Statement from Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society:

“Mars exploration has always had its ups and downs, but if history has taught us one thing it is that every setback has been ultimately followed by astounding new accomplishments. MSL will be worth waiting for.”

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.