Trump's Budget Will Include Cuts to NASA and Several of Their Programs

Thursday, 16 March 2017 - 7:25PM
NASA
Science News
Thursday, 16 March 2017 - 7:25PM
Trump's Budget Will Include Cuts to NASA and Several of Their Programs
NASA
President Trump's budget proposal has begun to make the rounds, and it includes some cuts to NASA's overall budget, though it's not as severe as the cuts being made to other federal agencies. The overall proposed budget for NASA is around $19.1 billion, about $200 million less than the previous year.

Though a lower figure, this budget still keeps much of NASA's current projects and programs on tracks. NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot released a statement on the budget, staying optimistic about the cuts:

Opening quote
"[The proposal] is in line with our funding in recent years, and will enable us to effectively execute our core mission for the nation, even during these times of fiscal constraint."
Closing quote
 
Among the programs that are on the chopping block include an asteroid redirect program, which would use robotics to move a piece of asteroid closer to the moon for further examination. Likewise, a mission to land on Jupiter's moon Europa was also scrapped, although there are still plans to do a flyby on another mission known as the "Europa Clipper" mission.

Also being cut were programs involving NASA's education and planetary research programs, with the education program being eliminated altogether. The planetary research on carbon monitoring and NASA's involvement in DSCOVR, also known as the Deep Space Climate Observatory, have been nixed, which is sure to frustrate environmentalists who value its usefulness. Specifically former Vice President Al Gore, who had initiated the program in the first place.

The budget also calls for further partnering of NASA with private space enterprises, which could signal an the intent to try and begin privatizing part of the space program, a bedrock for many conservative business values.

Finally, in terms of upcoming space exploration and human led missions, the new budget keeps NASA on track for two big upcoming vehicle proposals: the Space Launch System (SLS) for deep space travel and also the Orion, a capsule which may be capable of sending people to Mars someday. The new budget is more or less in line with previous budgets for the agency, though it most likely keep NASA from pushing further ahead with making SLS a manned mission as well. Instead, they'll probably keep to their original plan of making SLS unmanned and then push forward with humans aboard Orion.

Overall, while Trump has made drastic cuts to several programs and has proven quite the divisive figure in his 2 months in office so far, NASA's space program looks to still be a something of a priority moving forward. It should be noted that this budget is just the proposal and none of the funds will be allocated until Congress decides where the funds go. It should prove a swift process, since Congress is known around the galaxy for always getting along and never letting politics get in the way, right?

Via: The Verge
Science
Space
NASA
Science News