Trump's funding destroys NASA's asteroid mission

Trump's funding destroys NASA's asteroid mission

NASA’s expenditures on earth science during the fiscal year beginning October 1 will also fall under the budget proposal of President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration intends to save on NASA by introducing tight budget cuts provided for other US non-military programs. However, his spending plan of $ 19 billion per year shifts the priorities of the space agency.

The budget plan, released on Thursday, kills Obama's initiative to send a robotic mission to collect a massive sample from a nearby asteroid and transfer it to high-moon orbit, where astronauts will study it. The asteroid redirection mission (ARM) proved to be unnecessary for Congress.

The only reason for canceling ARM was “accounting for growing development costs” in other exploration programs.

“We remain committed to the following human missions in deep space. But we will not pursue the mission of redirecting asteroids (ARM) with such a budget, ”Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement.

He noted that they will continue to work on the technology of solar electric motors - the cornerstone of the ARM initiative. The new proposal allocates 3.7 billion dollars for the development of NASA’s large-capacity space-launch vehicle and the Orion capsule without specifying a destination for the transportation system. Ultimately, the long-term goal of the American space program is to land astronauts on Mars, but some other countries and US commercial companies want to first create a base on the moon.

“This is a good budget for NASA,” Lightfoot said. “I want to repeat that we are committed to the main mission of NASA.”

The cost plan for 2018 cancels the Earth Science satellite, known as “Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean Ecosystem” (PACE), two Earth observation devices for the International Space Station, and Earth Observation Instruments for the Space Climate Observatory ( DSCOVR satellite launched in 2015).

In general, NASA spending on Earth science will fall by 5% (to $ 1.8 billion in Trump's budget proposal).

The White House plan also closes NASA's education office, which last year received $ 115 million.

“We are still focused on exploring our home planet and the Universe, but redirect attention within the resources available to us,” Lightfoot said. “Although this budget is no longer funded by the official Department of Education, NASA will continue to inspire the new generation through missions and direct educational efforts in a more targeted manner,” he continued. “We will also continue to use every opportunity to support the next generation through participation in our missions.” The work of the agency encourages the public to discover new opportunities. ”

NASA's planetary research projects, including the Mars 2020 rover and the orbiter to search for life on Jupiter’s moon in Europe, will receive from $ 300 million to $ 1 billion in the proposed budget.

More detailed budget figures will be announced in May, but in general, NASA was in a good position compared to other non-military agencies of the United States.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31%, the State Department by 28%, and the Department of Commerce, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 16%.

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