Deferring projects when they are in the study phase costs much
less than when being executed, Griffin said.
"If we need to have delays, now is the time," he said. "It's very
expensive to put them on hold when they go down the execution
Although JPL's Mars budget will stay intact, he added that it will
not be increased.
"In the end, it will still be a healthy program," he said.
In addition, the Mars Science Laboratory project will get pushed
back two years from its scheduled launch date to 2011, he said.
"He puts a very high value" on it, said Charles Elachi, JPL's
director. "But with the budget, it looks like there will be a delay."
Griffin said he will pursue President Bush's vision for space
exploration, pointing out that the agency will go to the moon, Mars
and nearby asteroids in coming decades.
The moon is the No. 1 priority since it is the closest, he said.
Another of Griffin's top priorities is the Prometheus propulsion
project, which uses nuclear energy. He called it the best form of
power for space crews.
"Space nukes have no more of a vocal champion than me," he said.
"We can puddle around our lake here on Earth with solar power, but if
we want to explore Mars one day, we need nuclear power."