Out of all of the federal agencies that received budget plans from President Donald Trump yesterday, NASA fared well. But packaged within NASA’s small budget drop-off are some fairly substantial reductions. A couple of the primary approaching missions are canceled, and NASA’s entire education plan, which is responsible for grants and outreach, is removed. The budget request also proposes wasting technologies in space.
While some could deprive the science community of the space bureau’s expertise along with students, many of these reductions might have a positive effect on NASA.
CANCELING THE ASTEROID REDIRECT MISSION
Out of all the cuts under the new budget request, this one will likely make the most people happy. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission — an initiative to robotically regain a piece of an asteroid and bring it in the neighborhood of the Moon — never had many lovers.
The concept was born from an ambitious target that President Barack Obama set in 2010 for NASA: send individuals to go to an asteroid in its natural orbit. The idea was that this kind of mission would function as a good training run for sending people to Mars. Over time, though, it became apparent a crewed mission to an asteroid would be extremely expensive and not so feasible to pull off.
NASA created the idea of sending a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid to wrangle a sizable boulder off of it. The vehicle would then take back the rock to our planetary system and place it in orbit around the Moon. After that, people would launch to the Boulder to investigate it and gather samples. The new concept was a much more possible way of executing Obama’s call to go to with an asteroid, since it brought us the asteroid.
Unlike what the name signifies, the Asteroid Redirect Mission is about testing out ways to redirect asteroids headed toward Earth not, though the spacecraft would try to alter somewhat the path of the asteroid it visited. Rather, the space agency touts the mission as mainly a method to test out technologies needed to get humans to Mars, notably a new propulsion technology that is solar. NASA’s temporary administrator, Robert Lightfoot, said the development of the technology could continue for future assignments.
ARM has drawn some fierce criticism from the science community, particularly NASA’s Small Bodies Appraisal Group, or SBAG and also Republicans in Congress. The group is accountable for defining precedence in regards to analyzing small space objects and asteroids. Just the robotic section of the assignment was anticipated to cost $1.4 billion.