Trump's NASA to Focus on Deep-Space Activities, Abandoning Earth and Climate Science
As a known denier of man-made climate change, it is not surprising that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wants NASA to lessen their research on Earth and climate science, making the agency focus more on deep-space exploration.
According to a recent op-ed in Space News, NASA has been reduced to "a logistics agency concentrating on space station resupply and politically correct environmental monitoring" in the past few years. Under Trump's administration, NASA's core mission will be exploration, science and inspirational.
"The science that is being doing is essentially Earth-based science," said Robert S. Walker, former chairman of the House Science Committee and a likely member of Trump's NASA transition team, in a report from The Verge. It relates to weather; it relates to Earth-based needs. And so NOAA is probably a more appropriate place for that to be done."
Walker noted that should set its sight on deep space activities rather than Earth-centric work. By transferring the Earth and climate science researcher to other agencies, such as NOAA, more funds are expected to be freed to support human exploration mission of NASA into deep space.
NASA's Earth Science Division has been receiving increasing funds in the past years. For 2016, the division received $1.921 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2009. If the division is to completely scrape out or transferred to NOAA, the allotment of funds would be focused in the deep space programs of NASA.
Within the past years, NASA have launched series of key-observing satellites to gather valuable data about the overall health of the planet, which include the Earth's climate, space weather, sea level changes, and more.
Under Trump's proposed space policy, public-private partnerships are considered to the foundation of the administration's space efforts. Government partnerships to private companies could help reduced the costs of space programs. Furthermore, private companies, such as SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Boeing/ULA are capable of thinking outside of bureaucratic structures and regulations.