White House’s 2016 budget plan for the space agency, NASA, includes a fund share of $18.5 billion for its Europa and Mars 2020 missions. Although the latest budget request is more than the budget demand for 2015, according to Adam B. Schiff (under whose constituency NASA falls): “I think the administration’s moving in the right direction, but still has a long way to go,” Accordingly if approved, NASA will receive 1.361 billion dollars for planetary science research in 2016, 76 million dollars less than its 2015 allotment.
What is the Europa mission?
Europa is a frozen water laden planet,and the long-planned mission by NASA aims to find habitable conditions beneath the planet’s cold hard surface. While the 2016 White House budget request for the mission reveals the administration’s call for $30 million, the amount falls short of the 100 million dollars sanctioned by Congress for the past year of 2015.Additionally, although the amount is more than the $15 million request of 2015, the allotment figure still falls short when compared to the amount sanctioned by Congress for the current year.
Different treatment meted out to Mars 2020 and Mars Opportunity projects
The US administration also plans to keeps its Mars 2020 project on track. It has requested a fund amount of 228 million dollars for 2016, which is double the amount approved by Congress in 2015. Schiff has called the request “a high point in the administration’s proposal.”Despite doubling the Mars 2020 mission fund, the US administration has not made any calls on fund allotment towards another of NASA’s Mars mission – the rover Opportunity project. The Opportunity rover continues to supply the agency with fresh scientific data and discoveries. Compared to other mars missions, Opportunity does not need huge funding to run its operations. In 2014, this project had received $14 million from Congress.