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Trump's $19.1 Billion NASA 2018 Budget Includes Mars Mission, Cuts Funds for Education and Earth Sciences

Mar 17, 2017 05:31 PM EDT
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NASA's 2018 budget is $18.1 billion, 5 percent lower compared to the last. The cut is expected to affect earth sciences and climate change programs.
(Photo : Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

NASA received a favorable 2018 budget of $19.1 billion. Trump's administration set aside budget for space exploration, although it did not specify whether the fund is specifically allocated for Mars or the moon.

There's a slight cut from the former $19.3 to $19.1 billion, and some fear that this willl affect education and earth sciences projects. The budget cut will affect climate change projects such as PACE, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 and Climate Observatory.

However, experts say the budget cut is not so bad since other agencies, such as the EPA, might receive a budget with a 31 percent reduction. But the evident shift in budget priority during Trump's term is still fairly evident. 

"The budget increases cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses on the nation's efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, and develops technologies that would achieve U.S. space goals and benefit the economy," according to the budget outline released via USA Today.

Reports say that the human exploration programs will receive $3.7 billion, including the development of the Orion Space Capsule and the Space Launch System (SLS), dubbed as the most powerful rocket ever made. Both the SLS and the Orion Space Capsule will play a role in the upcoming manned mission to Mars.

The budget outline also specifically instructed NASA to "investigate approaches for reducing costs" of space explorations in order to perform a more "expansive" program, according to a report by Washington Post.

Experts can't help but compare how Obama's budget is different from Trump's. The new administration has no clear outline or target with no mention of specific projects, even though President Trump had earlier expressed his interest in bringing astronauts back to the moon.

One interesting NASA mission that will benefit from the budget is the new Europa Clipper project that will investigate the habitability of Jupiter's moon Europa. The mission just got its official name and is expected to launch in 2020.

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