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NASA’s Mars Exploration Lab Lays Off 570 Workers Because Congress Can’t Get It Together

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is facing layoffs of 530 employees and 40 contract staff due to budget constraints and delays in congressional appropriations.

The cuts come amidst difficulties in maintaining JPL’s ambitious science program, which includes projects like the Mars 2020 mission.

“These cuts are among the most challenging that we have had to make,” JPL director Laurie Leshin wrote.

The layoffs are a result of a reduced budget for the Mars Sample Return mission and ongoing congressional budget disputes.

“After exhausting all other measures to adjust to a lower budget from NASA, and in the absence of an FY24 appropriation from Congress, we have had to make the difficult decision to reduce the JPL workforce through layoffs,” NASA stated.

“To our colleagues who will be leaving JPL, I want you to know how grateful I am for the exceptional contributions you have made to our mission and our community. Your talents leave a lasting mark on JPL. You will always be a part of our story and you have made a positive difference here,” Leshin said.

JPL has been grappling with understaffing and mission delivery challenges, and the layoffs signify a significant setback for the institution.

“We will come through this difficult time and keep moving ahead on our essential missions, research, and technology work for NASA and the nation.”

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