Fears Trump Would Gut Climate Agencies Were Overblown

Known as DSCOVR, for Deep Space Climate Observatory, it was launched in 2015 to detect solar storms that can affect electronics, the power grid and other satellites.

The recent release of the Trump administration's 2018 budget blueprint reveals that numerous items he said he would cut for NASA are actually being cut in favor of continuing other NASA priorities.

NASA's planetary science program is slated to get $1.9 billion, a decent increase from the $1.6 billion budget in the present year.

"EO-1 has changed the way spectral Earth measurements are being made and used by the science community", said Betsy Middleton, EO-1's Project Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Under the proposal, NASA's overall budget would drop from $19.2 billion in the current fiscal year to $19.1 billion in the next, and the agency's $115 million Office of Education would shut down.

Nasa's acting Administrator, Robert Lightfoot, said its funding was "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".

Still, much of the technology developed for the asteroid mission will be preserved and put to use in future projects, Lightfoot said. The bad news is that among the items on the cut list is NASA's Office of Education, which is cut completely from the proposed budget.

NASA's Office of Education did not respond to Gizmodo's repeated request for comment, so it's unclear how the Science Mission Directorate-which is primarily focused on understanding the birth and evolution of the universe-will be able to absorb all of the education department's responsibilities.

Despite these defunded programs and missions, the new budget request does draw focus to other NASA initiatives, such as commercial space travel.

The president's first federal budget appeared to meet his campaign promise of shifting the US space agency's attention away from Earth and toward deep space, although the outline makes no mention of the manned journey to Mars, or if the moon is a bigger preference.

This rendering shows The Boeing Company's future supersonic advanced concept featuring two engines above the fuselage.

Dr Rush Holt, the AAAS's chief executive, said: "The Trump administration's proposed budget would cripple the science and technology enterprise through short-sighted cuts to discovery science programs and critical mission agencies alike". While that's still a substantial budget, it will result in the cancellation of three Earth observation missions: PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR.

Monitoring the state of Earth's oceans is crucial for understanding how the planet responds to climate change. But while NASA will get more funding to study other planets, the Earth science will see its budget cut from $1.9 billion to $1.8 billion.

The Europa Clipper mission will proceed (without a specific dollar amount), but the separate lander mission did not receive any funding. It allocates the new deep space rocket and the Orion space capsule $3.7 billion. The budget statement also explicitly states that NASA should encourage public-private partnerships.

In the introduction to his proposed federal budget, President Donald Trump states clearly that he plans to spend far less overseas and on global issues than did previous administrations. The program faced criticism for only being tangentially related to NASA's ultimate goal of putting boots on Mars, but supporters claimed it would help develop techniques like in-space propulsion and working with objects in deep space. The first launch would be unmanned, sending a probe to redirect a large boulder into the moon's orbit, and the second launch would send astronauts to that asteroid. In addition to writing, Lloyd has also been doing more photography of launches and aviation.

  • Carolyn Briggs