Proposed funding for scientific ocean drilling within the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal 1983 totals $14 million, $6 million less than the current fiscal 1982 plan and about half of the original FY 1982 budget request of $26 million. However, there is more to these numbers than simple subtraction: Additional funding for scientific ocean drilling programs is on hold while decisions are being made about a future drilling program called Advanced Ocean Drilling (AOD).
With the demise of the Ocean Margin Drilling Program (OMDP) when industry withdrew its support (Eos, October 20, 1981, p. 705) and with the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) long ago scheduled to end in fiscal 1983, the future for scientific ocean drilling within NSF was uncertain. To steer ocean drilling toward scientific objectives for the decade, the Conference on Scientific Ocean Drilling (COSOD) (Eos, December 22, 1981, p. 1197) examined four ocean drilling options and decided that the Glomar Explorer, converted to the current capabilities of the DSDP mainstay Glomar Challenger (i.e., without riser and well-control technologies), would meet scientific objectives through the decade. In December, the National Research Council's Committee on Ocean Margin Drilling came to the identical conclusion in its interim report. Both of these decisions were based solely on scientific merit and did not consider costs.