Published online 13 May 2009 | Nature 459, 152 (2009) | doi:10.1038/459152d

News in Brief

Human space-flight review in US budget proposals

US President Barack Obama will convene a panel of experts to evaluate the future of NASA's human space-flight programme.

The review will look at whether the International Space Station should be used past 2016, and at the architecture of Constellation, the system of rockets and capsules that will take astronauts back to the Moon. A report is expected by August.

The announcement came as part of the 7 May unveiling of Obama's full budget request for fiscal year 2010. Most science agencies received their top-line funding requests in March, but last week the National Institutes of Health (NIH) got its number for the first time: $30.8 billion, a $443-million increase (or 1.4%) over last year.

Some researchers say the rise is not enough to maintain the momentum they hope to achieve with the $10.4-billion boost for the NIH granted in February as part of the economic stimulus package.

More than 40% ($181 million) of the new money requested by Obama would go to the National Cancer Institute. Across the agency, total spending on cancer research would grow by $268 million, to 5% above 2009 levels. 

For more on the US budget, see Obama requests US science funding.

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