A group of US lawmakers on Thursday urged NASA to scrap outdated, costly and redundant lenses that are costing millions of dollars each year to perform scientific experiments on the Red Planet.
The proposal to scrap the lenses comes after Nasa announced last year that it would no longer require NASA to use them for missions to Mars.
The Congressional Space Subcommittee on Science, Space and Technology has also requested that NASA use less costly lenses for Mars missions.
NASA has said that it is exploring alternatives to the lenses.
The committee wants NASA to focus on alternatives to current methods of measuring the polarization of light.
“The lenses have a lifetime cost of over $1 billion each and are a drain on the mission budget,” said Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican who chairs the subcommittee.
“Our recommendations include the use of more reliable optical systems and other technologies that can reduce the cost of science and exploration,” Collins added.
Collins also noted that the optics used by NASA on the International Space Station cost $5 billion each.
“NASA should stop using these lenses, and instead use more affordable, more effective, more efficient methods of scientific observations,” he said.
NASA recently said it would discontinue the use to perform light and optical measurements on the surface of Mars in 2024.
The agency said it was working to come up with a new plan for using the lenses and that it expects to begin using them for the 2020 Mars 2020 rover mission.