Jun 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's budget would boost NASA's science and climate portfolio

Biden.
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's budget request for NASA would give the space agency's science and climate change portfolios a big boost.

Why it matters: The budget still needs to be approved by Congress, but it shows where the new administration's priorities lie.

Catch up quick: If enacted, the budget proposal, announced last week, would be about $1.5 billion more than what the agency received in fiscal year 2021.

  • Planetary science, in particular, gets a large boost, with $3.2 billion proposed, $653 million of which will go toward the development of a sample return mission to Mars.
  • The Nancy Grace Roman Telescope and a number of Earth science missions also receive funding in this proposal, after the Trump administration tried to cancel those programs.
  • Under the budget, NASA would also continue to aim to send people back to the surface of the Moon, with boosts to funding in a number of areas needed to achieve that goal.

The big picture: This budget places NASA within the broader framework of the post-pandemic economic recovery the Biden administration is attempting to spur through job creation and R&D.

  • "This budget request is evidence that NASA’s missions contribute to the administration’s larger goals for America: addressing climate change, promoting equity, and driving economic growth," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
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