Would NASA Stay On Track For Mars If Trump Is Not Reelected?

NASA Gateway Habitation and Logistics Outpost
An artist’s concept of the Gateway power and propulsion and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon.
Credit: NASA

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Changes in the White House often signal priority shifts in policy. What steps is NASA taking to ensure that it stays on track for the Gateway—and additionally the push to Mars—if President Donald Trump is not reelected in November?

Aviation Week Space Editor and Cape Canaveral Bureau Chief Irene Klotz responds:

NASA has learned to roll with the punches: It parlayed the George W. Bush administration’s Moon-Mars exploration program, known as Constellation, into the Obama-era asteroid rendezvous and relocation effort and now into the Trump administration’s initiative to land astronauts on the Moon in 2024.

Despite the shifting political landscape, NASA has won congressional support for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule for deep-space human transportation. The agency has also revamped the spacecraft bus for the asteroid initiative into the power-and-propulsion module for the Gateway, a lunar-orbiting base. NASA has largely been successful at continuing its exploration blueprints by building support among both Democratic and Republican legislators.

Irene Klotz

Irene Klotz is Space Editor for Aviation Week, based in Cape Canaveral. Before joining Aviation Week in 2017, Irene spent 25 years as a wire service reporter covering human and robotic spaceflight, commercial space, astronomy, science and technology for Reuters and United Press International.

Comments

3 Comments
Sorry readers but it's time to, as they say, "get real".

Because of Covid-19 the US single year deficit for 2020 is 3.3 Trillion dollars ($3,300 billion). The US national debt is set to exceed 100% of GDP as well.

It doesn't matter who is elected US president in November. Budget priorities must change. Going to Mars will be about as far down on the list as it is possible to be.
Alas, space exploration is and always has been about one thing: advancing foreign policy. IF the Biden administration sees an advantage in foreign policy by maintaining the current goals writ large (permanent outpost on the moon and humans at Mars), then likely what will happen is a bit of rebranding and perhaps some refined near term goals to "Biden-ize" it. ISS saw this going from administration to administration.
If such is not the case then it's likely to go the way of Constellation.

I claim no special knowledge, I'm just reflecting on history.
Mars is still too far away in my opinion to be affected by an administration change, however I'm afraid of several years delay on Artemis program.
Maybe Space X will change everything ....