US President Donald Trump Proposes NASA Budget Cut; Focuses More On Space Exploration

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US President Donald Trump Proposes NASA Budget Cut; Focuses More On Space Exploration

Posted on : Friday 17th of March 2017

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WASHINGTON:  US President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget is expected to slash NASA's funding from about $19.3 billion to $19.1 billion. As a result, some of NASA missions, currently in development - including the mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa and NASA Earth science missions - could be shuttered.

The proposed budget focuses on increasing cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships and deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, NASA said in a statement.

The blueprint also includes massive cuts on arts and foreign aid.

"Overall science funding is stable, although some missions in development will not go forward and others will see increases," NASA acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement.

"We remain committed to studying our home planet and the universe, but are reshaping our focus within the resources available to us -- a budget not far from where we have been in recent years, and which enables our wide ranging science work on many fronts," Mr Lightfoot said.

US President Donald Trump's proposed budget terminates four Earth science missions - PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder - and reduces funding for Earth science research grants. It also called for the cancellation of the multi-billion-dollar Asteroid Redirect Mission.

However, the proposed budget encourages NASA's efforts to send American astronauts on deep-space missions. It recalled the robotic exploration of the solar system by providing $1.9 billion for the Planetary Science programme, including funding for a mission to repeatedly fly by Jupiter's moon Europa and a Mars Rover Mission in 2020.

"While more detailed budget information will be released in May, we have received a top line budget number for the agency as part of an overall government budget rollout of more than $19 billion. 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," Mr Lightfoot said.

"While the budget and appropriation process still has a long way to go, this budget enables us to continue our work with industry to enhance government capabilities, send humans deeper into space, continue our innovative aeronautics efforts and explore our universe," he added.

The proposed budget also funds data buys from companies operating small satellite constellations and supports industry collaboration to develop and commercialise new space technologies, NASA added.

The proposed budget will undergo scrutiny in Congress and needs to be approved by lawmakers before being implemented.

Courtesy : NDTV

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