Budgets and Policy: June 2006

NRC Report: An Assessment of Balance in NASA's Science Programs

Astrobiology: NASA's astrobiology program is built around three overarching scientific questions:

1. How does life begin and evolve?
2. Does life exist elsewhere in the universe?
3. What is life's future on Earth and beyond?

The program consists of four independent R&A elementsthe exobiology and evolutionary biology program, the Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development program, the Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets program, and the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). Together, these were funded in FY 2006 at a combined level of $65 million, already down 13 percent from the FY 2005 program. The FY 2007 budget would cut the program again, to half its current level. This is projected to be a permanent reduction in the size of the program.