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Trump’s NASA Budget Cancels Most Of Obama’s Legacy, Boosts Science By $134 Million

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President Donald Trump’s NASA budget eliminates Obama-era global warming and earth science missions, while increasing spending on the space agency’s science program by $134 million.

Trump’s NASA budget recommends Congress give the space agency $19.1 billion, or about 0.8 percent less than it received in 2017.

The budget maintains NASA spending on space exploration missions and technology development programs, but reduces funding for earth science and global warming research.

If enacted, the budget will increase spending on NASA’s science missions by $134 million dollars in 2018.

The budget strikes global warming from budget justifications, promising instead to “seek to answer fundamental questions concerning the global Earth system; other planets in the solar system and around other stars; the connections among the Sun, Earth, and heliosphere; and the origin and evolution of planetary systems, the galaxy, and the universe, including the origin and distribution of life in the universe.”

This is a sharp reversal from the Obama administration, when the top scientific question NASA was supposed to answer was “How are Earth’s climate and the environment changing?” More typical space questions, such as “Are we alone?” and “How does the universe work?,” were at the very bottom of the list.

If enacted, the budget would eliminate two proposed earth science missions to collect ocean and global warming data for research. This cuts $102 million from the nearly $2 billion NASA spent on earth science and global warming research. The White House also proposed cutting the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which could have cost a total of $17.7 billion dollars by 2025.

The budget specifically states that these goals should be achieved through “robotic flight missions, ground-based scientific research and data analysis, and the development of new technologies for future missions.”

The budget would also reduce NASA’s education budget by $78 million compared to the previous year.

This directly contrasts with Obama’s NASA budgets, which repeatedly tried to slash space exploration funding and redirect it to environmental research. Obama increased NASA’s budget for environmental programs by 63 percent at the expense of its exploration budget.

The budget provides $3.7 billion for the development of the Space Launch System Mars rocket and its Orion capsule and will fund NASA’s plans to build a “deep space gateway” around the moon as part of plans to send astronauts to Mars. Under the new budget, NASA plans to accelerate plans to put U.S. astronauts to lunar orbit and send a manned mission to Mars in 16 years.

Trump previously requested NASA plan to return U.S. astronauts to the moon potentially by 2020 and go on to Mars soon after, according to leaked internal documents.

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