President Trump has unveiled his fiscal 2018 budget proposal, and one major move he's made is causing quite a bit of consternation.
President Donald Trump is making people mad again, not surprisingly, and this time it has to do with his new fiscal 2018 budget proposal, and what it does to NASA. While the budget doesn’t significantly cut NASA’s overall funding, which is 0.8 percent lower compared to last year under the proposal, it makes a huge shift in priorities, increasing funding for space exploration while slashing funding for programs that would study the Earth and, more specifically, climate change.
The budget proposal would go after NASA’s Earth science programs, resulting in the cancellation of climate-studying missions like PACE, a spacecraft tasked with studying changes on ocean color, and CLARREO Pathfinder, which is a spacecraft that would produce incredibly accurate records of the climate. Left-wing sites like Slate have called Trump’s plan to “gut” NASA’s Earth sciences program as “catastrophic,” and they’re not alone. Many on the left who argue that climate change is a real threat believes this sets back efforts to fight global warming, something that Trump denies even exists, or at least argues is not being caused by humans.
There will be other changes to NASA’s mission, with the Asteroid Redirect Mission on the chopping block. ARM would aim to send a spacecraft to grab a chunk of rock and swing it near the moon. The budget also would cause the cancellation of a probe to be sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa, but overall the budget increases emphasis on exploration missions and dials back Earth-focused missions, which had been a critical part of NASA under President Obama.
As the Baltimore Sun described the budget proposal, “Given Trump’s skepticism that human activity is responsible for climate change, it was little surprise his budget recommended slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from federal programs to tackle the issue. The blueprint also cut funding for efforts to reduce power plant emissions.”
CBS News noted in its report that the “The 2018 budget blueprint for NASA ‘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.'”