The president’s budget proposition has a few troubling news for the space agency’s next enormous astronomy mission.
The Trump administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019and put dozens of federal programs on the chopping block, including a brand-new nasa space telescope that scientists say would provide the biggest picture of the universe yet, with the same sparkling clarity as the Hubble Space Telescope.
The proposal, released Monday, recommends eliminating the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), citing “higher priorities” at nasa and the cost of the new telescope.
“Given competing priorities at nasa, and budget constraints, developing another large space telescope immediately after completing the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope is not a priority for the administration,” the proposal states. “The budget proposes to terminate WFIRST and redirect existing funds to other priorities of the science community, including completed astrophysics missions and research.”
The James Webb Space Telescope is a nasa telescope that’s almost ready to go after two decades of work. The Webb is expected to launch in 2019 to a point 1 million miles from Earth, where it will study the cosmos in infrared light and provide images and data using a mirror far bigger than the one on Hubble, which launched in 1990. WFIRST is in line after Webb as nasa’s next flagship astronomy mission, and is currently in early stages of design and development. The mission would launch sometime in the mid-2020s.