President Trump's new fiscal 2018 budget proposal contains a huge shift for the space agency, and many aren't happy.
President Donald Trump’s new fiscal 2018 budget proposal has been making waves ever since it’s been released, but one proposal that is receiving extra scrutiny is what he plans to do with NASA. While the agency is only facing a 0.8 percent cut to its overall budget, there will be a massive shift in priorities away from Earth and toward outer space.
Many programs under NASA’s umbrella would face huge cuts, and it will mean upcoming missions will be cancelled. The biggest cut would be to the asteroid redirect mission, which would aim to send a probe to an asteroid, grab a piece of it, and bring it near the moon. It’s a mission that never had a whole lot of fans.
Another cut would result in cancelling a probe that would be sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa. We still intend to visit Europa, but this would cut one of those key missions.
Perhaps the most significant cuts are to NASA’s Earth science program. President Trump is a climate change denier, and many of NASA’s Earth science programs are focused on monitoring the climate, so it’s not surprising that Trump would defund these initiatives. NASA instead will focus more on exploring space.
Earth science will get $1.8 billion in Trump’s budget, a modest cut from the $1.9 billion it received in 2016. It means some missions will be cut, like PACE, which was a spacecraft that would orbit Earth and study ocean color to understnad ocean health, as well as the CLARREO Pathfinder to produce accurate climate records.
“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for increasing understanding of the universe and our place in it, advancing America’s world-leading aerospace technology, inspiring the Nation, and opening the space frontier,” the budget proposal states. “The Budget increases cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses the Nation’s efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, and develops technologies that would help achieve U.S. space goals and benefit the economy. The President’s 2018 Budget requests $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level, with targeted increases consistent with the President’s priorities.”