Mar 17, 2017 05:44 AM EDT
US President Donald Trump just released the official budget for fiscal year 2018 on March 16. Several federal agencies received cuts and even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) didn't escaped this misfortune. This budget cut led NASA to cancel some of their missions including the Europa Clipper and the Asteroid Redirect missions.
In an article in The Verge, Trump slashed around USD 200 million off the NASA budget compared to the USD 19.3 billion NASA had in 2016. Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, shared that with this budget cut, NASA shall cancel two of its missions. One of this is the Europa Clipper mission which is supposed to land on Jupiter's moon with the same name. The Asteroid Redirect mission was also affected by the budget cut since the project will cost a lot due to the production of solar propulsion technologies. The said mission was originally planned to get an asteroid sample and place it to the surface of the moon.
Despite this major budget cut, Trump's order also stated that it will still continue to fund the development of both missions provided that it will be launched not anytime sooner but in 2020s, according to Space. The 0.8 percent budget cut will also affect four of NASA's Earth-science projects, (1) plankton, aerosol, cloud, ocean ecosystem satellite or PACE, (2) orbiting carbon observatory-3 or the OCO-3, (3) climate absolute radiance and refractivity observatory or CLARREO, and (4) the deep space climate observatory or DSCOVR.
Another NASA project, the education program, would also be out of the picture in the new Trump order. In 2016, the said program received a USD 115 million budget, but now it's already eliminated. The order actually argues that this program only duplicates the functions of other agencies and it's also beneficial to remove it so NASA can focus more on its explorations.
Despite these bad news for some budget cancellations for NASA's projects, the said agency will still push through with its human spaceflight missions. The order is not yet in full power as of the moment and space enthusiasts can still see major revisions from the Congress in the coming months.
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