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Trump Administration Budget Aims Lunar Exploration

Trump Administration Budget Aims Lunar Exploration

NASA has spent close to $100 billion on the orbiting outpost since the 1990s.

The budget request "reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take the next giant leap from where we made that first small step for humanity almost 50 years ago", NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said today in a "State of NASA" address at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Donald Trump administration has announced next year's budget estimate for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which focuses on the return of Americans to the Moon with a goal to send humans to Mars.

"Their momentum continues this year toward the first integrated launch of the system in fiscal year 2020 around the Moon and a mission with crew in 2023", Lightfoot said.

The Trump administration recognizes the benefits of worldwide cooperation in space, the document says, and is willing to expand collaboration with US allies "while working with a broader range of partners at all levels of capability".

The White House considered asking for $19.6 billion overall for NASA, 2.6% more than in the current fiscal year.

The president proposes shifting large chunks of money from the space station, satellites studying a warming Earth and a major space telescope toward a multi-year $10.4 billion exploration plan aimed at returning astronauts to the moon in about five or six years.

Additionally, the new budget proposal will cancel five Earth science missions, including the Radiation Budget Instrument, the Plankton; Aerosol; Cloud; ocean Ecosystem (PACE), the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)'s Earth-viewing instruments, and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder.

"It's imperative, it's critical", Bigelow Aerospace founder and President Robert Bigelow told FOX Business, regarding the White House's budget request. (Certainly these would not occur before 2024, the previous year of a Trump presidency if he were to win a second term).

The government has cited higher priorities at the US space agency for backing the cancellation. This is $500 million more than what was budgeted in 2018, but $61 million less than what Congress provided in 2017, under the Obama administration. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is any guide.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Space, said last week that it had to be "numbskulls" at the Office of Management and Budget who proposed ending federal funding for the space station, The New York Times reported.

The American leader stressed out that this time, the mission on the moon will not only follow the installation of the United States flag and to just leave traces on the lunar ground, but also to establish "the main base for a possible journey to Mars". "Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we're pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense".

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