Washington, March 17 (IANS) Some of NASA missions in development — including one to land on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and a few Earth science missions — will not go forward as per President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal 2018.
Overall, NASA’s funding for 2018 would be cut from roughly $19.3 billion to $19.1 billion, according to the budget proposal released on Thursday.
The budget increases cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, NASA said.
“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,” Lightfoot said.
The budget terminates four Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder) and reduces funding for Earth science research grants.
The budget cancels the multi-billion-dollar Asteroid Redirect Mission.
However, the budget encourages NASA’s efforts to send American astronauts on deep-space missions.
It also reinvigorates 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 icy ocean moon Europa and a Mars rover that would launch 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,” 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,” Lightfoot added.
The budget creates new opportunities for collaboration with industry on space station operations, supports public-private partnerships for deep-space habitation and exploration systems, funds data buys from companies operating small satellite constellations, and supports work with industry to develop and commercialise new space technologies, NASA said.