December 11, 2009
As the resident space nerd, I noticed today that there was a claim going around that the extra $3 billion that Big O's NASA oversite panel had recommended for the space agency to stay on track with its Constellation and Aries program had been okay'ed by a group of House and Senate negotiators.
However, somehow, the NASA budget has only been increased by $948 million, and, of course, this budgetary bill has yet to even go up for a vote in the House. I know political math is different from real math, but even I can tell that $948 million isn't $3 billion, and I'm no expert.
So, how does $3 billion turn into just under $1 billion? Like this:
The bill trims $28 million from the agency's $6.17 billion request for space operations and another $6 million from NASA aeronautics programs. It also shaves $3 million from NASA science programs and reduces the president's $3.4 billion request for cross-agency support by $206 million.
Another interesting thing to note in all of this is that, should this budget pass, included within the budget is a rule that NASA cannot cancel or start any new programs without going through a bunch of congressional bullshit. So, there's that, too.
These budgetary changes are designed to get us back to the Moon. Still no mention of Mars.
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