Aliens and space exploration have been proven to be of some importance, as the Capitol Hill took a break from the standard political business and discussed the future of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The government discussed the potential budget increase for NASA, as well as the Space Agency’s plan to bring men to Mars by 2035. When the NASA budget is increased it brings the dream of men on Mars closer to reality.
A Republican from Texas, Lamar Smith, conveyed his excitement about space exploration at an astrobiology hearing on May 21st. Smith believes that finding life in the universe would be one of the most significant discoveries in the human history. He went on to praise the recent discoveries made by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. These discoveries include an Earth-like world orbiting a nearby star.
The unfortunate reality for NASA is that while there are millions of planets and stars to discover, however problems with the budget are getting in the way of making important discoveries. NASA is a $17.6-billion civilian space agency and while vastly popular, many budget cuts threaten the development of new spacecraft and telescopes, despite the opportunity to create future in this post-shuttle era.
Ever since the end of the Apollo missions in 1973, federal spending on the space agency has declined from 1.35 percent to less than 0.6 percent. In the recent years, budget cuts ordered by Congress had trimmed close to a billion dollars between the years of 2012 and 2013. This year, the NASA budget increased as the opportunity bring the man to mars became reality and not just some futuristic goal. The new budget increase recovered some of the lost money.
This week a major announcement came from the House of Representatives. They are currently scheduled to cast a vote on the fiscal 2015 spending bill that would be able to provide NASA with $17.9 billion. While it will not recover the lost billion from the year before, an increase of $435 million would provide NASA with extra spending money to direct its focus on sending a team of highly trained individuals to Mars. Meanwhile, NASA will give a 12 percent increase to their astrophysics program, while the planetary science program would receive a 13 percent boost.
The budget would spread the money equally among many of the NASA departments and would add additional funding to some of the more promising programs. The Orion capsule project and the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket would receive $270 million. The projects are being developed to carry out deep-space missions in the future. At the same time, an extra $100 million is set aside for NASA proposed mission to Jupiter’s moon called Europa. The moon is made of silicate rock and it is currently assumed that the moon has an iron core. The mission to Europa is one of the most important missions on NASA’s to do list right now. The icy moon of Jupiter has some of the qualifying characteristics, making it possible that Europa houses extraterrestrial life in its deep oceans.
While the NASA budget increase brings humanity and all men closer to Mars, the some of the programs had to face sacrifices. NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which develops spacecrafts that transport astronauts to the International Space Station, had faced a 10 percent budget cut.
By Ivelina Kunina