Trump’s Budget Would Cut NASA’s Asteroid Mission and Earth and Climate Missions

The NASA logo is displayed on a wall outside the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas 20 March 2007. A man with a gun barricaded himself inside a building at NASA?s Johnson Space Centre in Texas and fired at least two shots police said. Police had not yet made contact with the white man who is between the ages of 50 and 60, police spokesman DW Ready said in a televised press conference. It remained unclear whether the man was a NASA employee. (EPA/AARON M. SPRECHER)

Under US President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, NASA’s funding would stay largely intact but the space agency would abandon plans to lasso an asteroid, along with four Earth and climate missions.

The 2018 budget—which must be approved by Congress—asks for $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2017, allowing the the space agency to emerge unscathed compared to the deep cuts laid out for other federal science and environmental agencies.

The proposal “focuses the nation’s efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research,” it said.

Plans to keep building the Orion deep space capsule and what will be the world’s most powerful rocket, known as the Space Launch System (SLS), remain intact, and are designated to receive $3.7 billion.

On the chopping block are four Earth science missions, saving around $102 million.

These include shutting off the cameras on a deep space climate observatory called DSCOVR that launched in 2015—and was initially a project of former vice president Al Gore—and three other satellites to track global warming and ocean health, and have not yet launched.

The proposed budget also axes a multi-billion plan championed by former president Barack Obama to lasso an asteroid and move it into orbit around the Moon for study in the 2020s.

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