U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to slash the portion of NASA’s budget focused on earth sciences, including climate change, while also pushing the space agency towards space exploration, a British newspaper report says.
Trump, who famously said in 2012 that climate change is a “Chinese hoax,” reportedly wants NASA to focus on far-reaching goals in deep space rather than “Earth-centric climate change spending”.
Bob Walker, a Trump adviser on space policy who chaired former president George W. Bush’s Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, told The Telegraph: “We would start by having a stretch goal of exploring the entire solar system by the end of the century.
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“You stretch your technology experts and create technologies that wouldn’t otherwise be needed. I think aspirational goals are a good thing. Fifty years ago it was the ability to go to the moon.”
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s new associate administrator for science, recently defended the work of the Earth Science Division.
“NASA’s work on Earth science is making a difference in people’s lives all around the world every day,” he said. “Earth science helps save lives. It also helps grow companies and creates an awareness of environmental challenges that affect our lives today and tomorrow.”
This will signify a distinct change from the Barack Obama-era in which the current U.S. president has proposed cutting the budget for deep space exploration while also pumping money in to the Earth Science Division.
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Walker, alongside another Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, penned an op-ed in October for spacenews.com outlining Trump’s future policy on NASA.
The pair wrote that NASA has been reduced to “a logistics agency concentrating on space station resupply and politically correct environmental monitoring.”
“NASA’s core missions must be exploration and science – and inspirational!,” they continued. “These are the fundamental underpinnings of a Trump civilian space program.”
Walker and Navarro also suggest Trump’s NASA will lean heavily on Orbital ATK, SpaceX and Boeing among others in order to bolster his vision.
“Public-private partnerships should be the foundation of our space efforts. Such partnerships offer not only the benefit of reduced costs, but the benefit of partners capable of thinking outside of bureaucratic structures and regulations.”