A White House panel of independent space experts said on Tuesday that NASA's return-to-the-moon plan just will not fly.
The problem is money. The expert panel estimates it would cost about $3 billion a year beyond NASA's current budget.
The plan to revisit the moon by 2020 was proposed five years ago by then-President George W. Bush. It was supposed to have been financed by savings from retiring the space shuttles. President Barack Obama's expert panel said, however, that any plan to go beyond low-Earth orbit was "not viable" with current spending. The panel posted a summary report online Tuesday.
NASA already has spent $7.7 billion on the moon plan, including the design and construction of new rockets.