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A U.S. Senate spending panel has proposed giving healthy boosts to space research at NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) next year.
The increases are part of a 2019 spending bill marked up yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee. It is slightly less generous to research than a version approved last month by the parallel spending committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, but stands well above what President Donald Trump requested for those agencies. The bills cover the fiscal year that begins on 1 October.
Panel - NASA - Science - Division - Increase
The panel has allocated $21.3 billion for NASA, $6.4 billion of which would go to the science division. That is an increase of 2.8% for science, or $180 million above fiscal year 2018 levels, and $500 million above Trump’s request. Within the science division, earth sciences would receive $1.9 billion, planetary science would receive $2.2 billion, and astrophysics would receive $1.5 billion, of which $305 million is for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the overbudget project whose launch has been delayed to 2019. The earth science allocation includes money to reinstate the Carbon Monitoring System, a $10-million-a-year research program that studies how sinks and sources of carbon can be remotely monitored from space. After the Trump administration quietly killed the program, House appropriators voted to put the money back. Now, the Senate has taken its first step in following suit. “Thank goodness Congress has a say in the matter,” said Senator Bill Nelson (D–FL) in a statement.
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The House spending panel was even more supportive of NASA science, allocating $6.7 billion. It matched the Senate figure for earth sciences but...
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