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NASA gets go-ahead to bring Mars rocks back to Earth

This illustration shows a NASA Mars Ascent Vehicle concept carrying samples into Mars orbit.


NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s one thing to send a spacecraft to Mars. It’s another to land on the surface, pick up some pieces of the planet and then bring them all the way back to Earth. But NASA is going to try to do just that.

On Tuesday, NASA announced the results of an Independent Review Board (IRB) evaluation of its planned Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission that would at long last bring a bit of the red planet back for our scientists to study.

“Following an examination of the agency’s ambitious Mars Sample Return plan, the board’s report concludes that NASA is prepared for the campaign, building on decades of scientific advancements and technical progress in Mars exploration,” NASA said in a

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Doane University board gives go-ahead to major reorganization | Omaha State and Regional News

Carter said Tuesday afternoon that any faculty amendments to his initiative would still need to find $3.6 million in savings and could not substitute different programs for elimination. He said donated money to save and sustain a program could be one option.

A Doane spokesman said just more than 17 staff positions will be cut (about 10 of those are vacant). Also, 12 faculty jobs could eventually be lost. Doane’s yearly operating budget is about $40 million, and the university employs 367 people, excluding adjunct faculty.  

Doane, based in Crete, Nebraska, has largely been a small, private, liberal arts institution during its close to 150 years.

Carter’s plan calls for removal of some majors — philosophy, physics, political science, religious studies — and numerous minors as well.  Administrative functions such as registration, admissions, facility operations and career development would be downsized. 



Doane University could lose several programs to budget cuts; president says change is vital

Jill Smith, chairwoman of the Doane board,

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Doane University board gives go-ahead to major reorganization despite faculty concerns | Omaha State and Regional News

Included in Doane’s plans are eliminating majors and minors in philosophy, political science, religious studies and German. Many other programs will have their majors or minors — one or the other — ended. Those include criminal justice, English as a Second Language, health and society and others. The honors program also will be discarded.

In all, Carter’s report to the board contained 158 small and large recommendations. Carter’s report said Doane would remain “rooted in the liberal arts” but must emphasize what it does best, what generates revenue, what is relevant to students and what is needed.

The report includes dozens of administrative changes, too, such as a small reduction in the registrar’s office, reduction of commencement costs, elimination of two full-time workers in admissions, elimination of some vacant positions, reduction of the fuel reimbursement rate from 42 cents per mile to 30 cents, a hiring freeze on jobs that

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