I don't have much info about this, but space.com is reporting that Alan Stern, who for the past year or so has been NASA's Associate Administrator for Science, has resigned. No reason has been given yet. However, it says that NASA's chief Mike Griffin "reluctantly accepted" the resignation, so this doesn't sound like it was just an end-of-tenure sort of thing.
Stern has overseen a lot of reform in the planetary science aspect of NASA, getting missions on track and on budget. There have been lots of problems, of course, because hey-- it's NASA. But from what I've heard Stern has been doing a good job at headquarters. As a planetary scientist himself he knows both sides of the business (admin and science) and again from what I hear he's been well-liked and things were going well. His resignation is a shock to me, and I can't help thinking this isn't a good thing for NASA. The timing is funny too, since NASA just had a nasty PR hit over the announcement to shut down the Mars rovers, which drew such an outcry that they changed their minds, and reinstated the rover program.
But was that enough to cause Stern to resign? I wonder if more bad news is coming. There's no way to know yet, and I won't speculate. We'll see for sure soon enough.
In the meantime, Ed Weiler, an old hand at NASA (he was chief scientist for Hubble for many years) will take over for Stern. I assume that will be temporary until someone else can take over permanently. Stay tuned.
Hat tip to BABloggee Kevin Jung for letting me know about this.