The NASA budget President Barack Obama released Tuesday is far more concerned with spending cash on global warming research than supporting the agency’s mission of space exploration.
The top scientific question the space agency claims it wants to answer in its budget justification is “How are Earth’s climate and the environment changing?” The more typical space questions, such as “Are we alone?” and “How does the universe work?,” were at the very bottom of the list.
“This administration cannot continue to tout plans to send astronauts to Mars while strangling the programs that will take us there,” Texas Republican Rep. [crscore]Lamar Smith[/crscore], chairman of the House Science Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal shrinks our deep space exploration programs by more than $800 million. And the administration once more proposes cuts of more than $100 million to the Planetary Science accounts, which have previously funded missions like this past year’s Pluto flyby.”
The space agency’s budget includes more than $2 billion for its Earth Science Mission Directorate for global warming science, which is specifically allocated to improve climate modeling, weather prediction and natural hazard mitigation. In comparison, NASA’s other functions, such as astrophysics and space technology, are only getting a mere $781.5 and $826.7 million, respectively, in the budget proposal.
“At the same time this proposal shrinks space exploration priorities within NASA’s budget,it disproportionately increases Earth Science accounts to more than $2 billion – a seventy percent increase since 2007,” Smith continued. “This imbalanced proposal continues to tie our astronauts’ feet to the ground and makes a Mars mission all but impossible. This is not the proposal of an administration that is serious about maintaining America’s leadership in space.”
Spending on NASA’s Earth Science Mission Directorate has increased by 63 percent over the last eight years, making it the largest and fastest growing budget of any NASA science program. Over the same time period, the general NASA budget grew only by 10.6 percent — just enough to account for inflation.
The Directorate’s goal is to help NASA “meet the challenges of climate and environmental change.” The organization is also responsible for global warming models proven to be inaccurate when checked against actual temperature observations.
Obama and Democrats in Congress consider expanding the budget for global warming science to be a political imperative. Obama has repeatedly attempted to cut other NASA directorates, like space exploration, so money could be redirected to global warming science.
Even global warming alarmist Bill Nye the “Science Guy,” who’s also the CEO of the Planetary Society, has criticized Obama’s attempts to cut NASA’s space exploration and planetary science programs in favor of global warming. NASA’s planetary science program has previously held car washes and bake sales to gain political support to maintain funding.
The NASA budget request will also continue funding the James Webb Space Telescope, which was initially projected to cost $1.6 billion and should have been launched in 2011. The Government Accountability Office now estimates the final cost will be $8.8 billion, and NASA has scheduled an October 2018 launch for the telescope.
The telescope likely cost the space agency $645.4 million in 2015 alone, making it account for roughly 13 percent of NASA’s annual science budget. The telescope has remained on schedule and within budget since December 2014, but it remains at risk of further delays.
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