US President Donald Trump, whose antics against climate change is already known, has axed NASA’s budget for study of weather changes, effectively altering the space agency’s Earth science program. The 2018 Budget requested $19.1 billion for the US space agency, a 0.8% decrease from the 2017 budget.
It means the climate-studying mission PACE meant for study of ocean color to understand ocean currents by the National Aeronautics and Space administration (NASA) will be severely crippled while the other mission CLARREO Pathfinder, meant to produce accurate climate records will be nullified.
Another major cut is in NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission which was preparing to send a probing spacecraft to the nearest asteroid to collect rock samples and bring them near the Moon. The next major mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons also get shelved for sometime. Apart from NASA funding cuts, Trump’s budget also reduces funding efforts to bring down power plant emissions.
Essentially, Trump is beset with NASA’s scope of operations to explore future outer space missions and rope in many private space research outfits like SpaceX and Boeing to step into the vacated shoes of NASA.
Accordingly the budget provided $3.7 billion for continued development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and other programs to send American astronauts on deep-space missions. No wonder, the axe felt on the multi-billion-dollar Asteroid Redirect Mission.
Some of the focus of the budget is on research related to commercial supersonic flights and safe air travel with an allocation of $624 million. NASA is developing next generation supersonic jet which is quieter and efficient. In addition, robotic mission to explore our Solar System got a boost with $1.9 billion in allocation for the Planetary Science and Mars Rover mission in 2020 besides a mission to fly by Jupiter’s icy ocean moon Europa.
The fiscal 2018 Budget of Trump Administration defended the move reiterating that the NASAwould use public-private partnerships and focuses on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, and develops technologies that would help achieve U.S. space goals and benefit the economy.