NASA is facing a very different future thanks to Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 budget proposal, and many are expressing their anger about it.
President Donald Trump is certainly shaking things up with his first budget proposal, and the fiscal 2018 plan has made a lot of people unhappy for a number of things, not least of which is what it does to NASA. The overall funding change isn’t much for the agency, which will see a cut of just 0.8 percent compared to last year, but it’s the changes within that is making people angry.
Donald Trump is a climate change denier, so it’s not surprised he doesn’t see any use in NASA studying the climate. But that makes up a big part of its budget. Instead, the new budget significantly alters NASA’s Earth science program, which will result in the loss of a couple critical climate-studying missions, such as PACE, a spacecraft that would study ocean color to understand ocean health, and CLARREO Pathfinder, which would produce accurate climate records.
But those aren’t the only changes, as NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission is getting cancelled. The aim of the mission was to send a probe to the asteroid to grab a chunk of rock and bring it near the moon. Another cut would cancel a probe that would be sent to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. There will be another visit to Europa besides this one, however.
Here’s what the fiscal 2018 budget says about NASA: “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for increasing understanding of the universe and our place in it, advancing America’s world-leading aerospace technology, inspiring the Nation, and opening the space frontier. The Budget 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. The President’s 2018 Budget requests $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level, with targeted increases consistent with the President’s priorities.”