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Crumbling Labs Could Clip Nasa's Wings


NASA Buoyancy Lab

An astronaut is prepped for "flight" at the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab. Years of neglect have left many NASA labs in rough shape.

Credit: Eric Cheng

NASA dreams of flying astronauts to Mars, but crumbling facilities here on Earth could clip the agency's wings.

Under President Obama's plan, NASA is expected to redouble its efforts to develop breakthrough technologies for space flight. However years of neglect have left many NASA labs that might be used for such research in rough shape, says a report from the U.S. National Academies of Science. Repairs and upgrades are essential for aging items like wind tunnels and computers, the report says. Some laboratories do not even have adequate electricity or heat.

Further delays to repairs will only create new problems. For example, the agency's inability to find $15 million to install a backup power supply could damage an expensive supercomputer if the power failed.

From New Scientist
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