NASA May Cut Science Programs To Accommodate Artemis Budget, Scientists Worry

Scientists and the chairperson of a dignified House Committee, expressed concern at a hearing on June 11, that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration could conduct cut down other science programs, to fund its hurried new lunar mission.

30thCongressional District Representative of Texas in the US House of Representative, Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), who also chairs the House Science Committee, put up her question in this regard in an open statement. She expressed her reservation regarding amendment of budgets by the administration, which proposed that the NASA should be given authority of transferring funds from other accounts, if they feel that it is necessary to sponsor the Artemis lunar Program.

In the meeting, she cited a number of examples, and reiterated her opinion, stating that it leaves her bewildered when she thinks that the administration is ready to go to the extent of raiding science for funding the lunar mission. In this context, she even came up with a series of instances of discoveries made during NASA missions.

Jim Bridenstine, the NASA Administrator, however, assured that there is no question of ‘cannibalizing’ other science programs because of budgeting issues of Artemis.

Yet, at a meeting that was held on May 31, Bill Gerstenmaier, the human exploration, and operations associate administrator announced that funding for Artemis for 2021 fiscal year and beyond will include new money that will be added to the overall budget for the project.

Bob Jacobs, NASA spokesperson said in this context that though there are plans to source funds for Artemis, it will not mean raiding science.

Former chairperson of Space Studies Board and Princeton University astrophysicist David Spergel mentioned that he has serious doubts that NASA will redirect funds from other science programs towards the lunar program, which to his opinion is a low priority program.