President-elect Donald Trump will eliminate NASA funding for global warming research, refocusing the agency on space exploration including to the Moon and Mars, a senior Trump adviser told The Guardian.
Trump’s advisers have been very open in recent weeks about plans to cut NASA’s climate research and transfer the money into attempts to send astronauts to Mars.
Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, told The Guardian that there’s no need for NASA to engage in “politically correct environmental monitoring”.
“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission.”
This isn’t the first time Walker has said Trump will slash NASA’s global warming budget to refocus the agency on exploration.
“NASA should be focused primarily on deep-space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies,” Walker and Peter Navarro, another senior adviser to the Trump campaign, wrote in an opinion piece published in SpaceNews in October. “Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA’s focus and goal.”
Industry analysts and rocket scientists have repeatedly stated that Trump will likely modestly increase NASA’s overall budget and refocus the agency on deep space exploration, which would be paid for by slashing environmental science programs implemented by President Barack Obama.
Obama slashed former President George W. Bush’s Constellation program, designed to take humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars, by leaking information to the press and threatening to veto the projects. NASA astronauts now rely on Russia to reach space, and NASA has been forced by the Obama administration to delay the Mars mission until 2030.
Trump could slash the more than $2 billion NASA spends on its Earth Science Mission Directorate, which covers global warming science like improved climate modeling and weather prediction. Comparativly, NASA plans to spend roughly $2.8 billion on space exploration next year. NASA’s other functions, such as astrophysics and space technology, are currently only getting a mere $781.5 and $826.7 million, respectively.
Additional money for Mars exploration could potentially be diverted from NASA’s troubled Asteroid Redirect Mission, which was also heavily supported by Obama.
Experts have previously blamed the agency’s problems on Obama focusing NASA on global warming. Obama has repeatedly tried to slash space exploration funding and redirect it to Earth science programs, which include climate modeling initiatives designed to measure global warming. Obama increased NASA’s budget for environmental programs by 63 percent at the expense of its exploration budget.
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