The White House's NASA Budget Focuses on Putting Americans Back on the Moon - Pacific Standard

The White House's NASA Budget Focuses on Putting Americans Back on the Moon

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President Donald Trump's $4.4 trillion budget blueprint for 2019, released Monday, redirects funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from space technologies to exploration.

Sending American astronauts back to the Moon in preparation for deep-space exploration is a top space priority for the Trump administration. The White House budget proposal offers some initial funding toward that aim, by investing $150 million in partnerships with commercial space companies. In prepared remarks, NASA's acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said Monday that the budget, "reflects the Administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the Moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity nearly 50 years ago."

However, the blueprint provides no projected date for humans to return to the Moon during Trump's presidency. Work on human-rated landers is not expected to begin until 2024.

The White House budget also includes a 6 percent cut to the agency's funding for its Earth science program, which includes climate change research, and a 12 percent cut to its astrophysics division. While Lightfoot lamented the loss of the astrophysics mission, he made no mention of climate change in his prepared remarks.

While the proposal outlines the Trump administration's priorities for the coming fiscal year, Congress still has the final say when it comes to funding.

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