Nasa Budget and Presidential Indecision

So far the Lion’s share of mentions NASA’s accomplishments, plans and budget allocations has become increasingly infrequent and sheepish. Those of us anxious to send humans to Mars or beyond, into the outer planets and their moons are no doubt familiar with this strange eternal ambivalence we’ve had to force ourselves to tolerate, when it comes to the United States President’s Office’s Position on space flight.


We have no colonists on Mars. We have no humans beyond low Earth orbit, and haven’t for most of this writer’s life. Since my generation was born (in the late eighties), we’ve seen Bush Sr.’s Space Exploration Initiative, which ordered the construction of a new space station and a permanent base on the moon, from which to eventually launch a manned mission to Mars.


But then we were teased by Clinton’s plan (arising in 1992), which called for “faster, better, cheaper” robotic space exploration — thricely designating the human element beyond low Earth orbit erroneous. Then we had Bush Jr.’s 2004 Vision for Space Exploration harked back to his father’s three-step plan to land a human on Mars, but then Obama cancelled this program in 2010, supplanting a Space Launch System to land humans on an asteroid for Mars.

Indeed, NASA laments the history of their relation with presidential approval:

“Today it is difficult to maintain momentum for any governmental program, it seems, beyond a single presidential election.”


While it’s certainly true that significant, permanent human presence in space will probably not happen with disparate sequences of 4-year plans, we may as well consider our options this election year, just in case we get lucky:

Rand Paul, believing the private sector ought to take over, is willing to cut NASA’s budget by 25%. Others of worry include Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, who, maintaining silence on the issue, imply that the nation’s space program is wholly erroneous.

Donald Trump, when asked if he supports a human mission to Mars, retorted “I want to rebuild our infrastructure first.”

Jeb Bush, whose home state of Florida has always profited from the space industry, has exclaimed that he will definitely propose increasing NASA’s budget. Following his lead in space policy is Marco Rubio.

Bernie Sanders, a democrat, already holds a voting record of cutting NASA spending, which does not bode well. But in a recent Reddit session, his focus on the “very difficult choices” he’ll be faced with concerning “hungry kids” and “health care for people who have none,” suggests that to him, the improvement of social programs takes precedence over progressing space exploration.

Finally we have Hillary Clinton, who is the first candidate of both the Republican and Democratic Parties who “wholeheartedly supports NASA’s planetary exploration.” This may be a personal dream of hers, as she recently revealed crushed teen dreams in the form of NASA rejecting her letter of interest to the space agency, which, presumably happened when NASA was guys-only club. Here’s hoping she is fully informed of the space program’s status, potential, and alternatives to reach places like Mars.