NASA Budget Shifts Focus From Climate Science to Space Exploration

  • Date: 19/03/17
  • Lorenzo Tanos, Inquisitor

In all, President Donald Trump’s NASA budget cuts won’t gut the space agency’s funding too much. But they highlight the 45th president of the United States’ desire to focus on space travel, while drawing criticism from lawmakers regarding the significant garnishing of funds, or outright elimination, of funding for climate change initiatives.

A look at the president’s new budget proposal released earlier in the week shows that NASA’s funding has only been reduced by less than one percent, with Trump reducing the space agency’s budget from $19.3 billion to $19.1 billion. According to the Los Angeles Times, this suggests that the agency is in better shape budget-wise than the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other government organizations that received generous cuts for the year 2018.

In a prepared statement reacting to the 2018 budget plans released by Donald Trump, NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot released a prepared statement acknowledging that the agency’s budget remains similar to what it has been in recent years and ample enough to ensure it achieves its most important goals.

“This 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.”

But if one were to look at NASA’s budget allocation in terms of its individual ingredients, it would appear that climate change has gotten the short end of the stick, according to The Verge. Budget cuts to the space agency’s Earth science program have come as no surprise, and while the cuts “aren’t so drastic,” two important missions stand to be terminated, namely the PACE spacecraft, which will be launched in order to perform health checks on Earth’s oceans, and the CLARREO Pathfinder, which has been mooted as a way to provide more accurate information on climate and weather.

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