Election day in the US is just a few days away and Presidential candidate Joe Biden has not yet talked much about space mission during his campaign. Even though space is not the top issue of this year's presidential election, changes in the White House could impact numerous space missions.
Biden's silence on the US space program could be a bad news for NASA's exploration ambitions, as the space agency is planning for its upcoming moon missionâArtemis programâto land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024. But the potential new administration could bring some good news for the Space Force.
NASA and The New Administration
After the November election, NASA would face two threats if the new Biden administration takes over in terms of policy whiplash and budget cuts. The space agency also needs to compete with other priorities on the spending side that include some most important issues in 2020âincluding healthcare plans and monthly federal payment plans.
President Donald Trump has shown interest in space directing the space agency to send humans back to the moon by 2024. However, the former Vice President of the US made a few comments about space program during his campaign while congratulating SpaceX's successful launch for NASA in May 2020.
"I congratulate NASA, SpaceX, and all the hardworking women and men who made today a victory for American innovation and persistence. This mission represents the culmination of work begun years ago, and which President Obama and I fought hard to ensure would become a reality," said Biden after the successful launch.
He also added that "As President, I look forward to advancing America's commitment to pursuing space exploration and unlocking scientific discoveries that will inspire a new generation of dreamers to gaze up at the sky and imagine all that our future may hold."
Democratic Party platform says that the space agency should focus on landing humans back on the lunar surface. But as per the space analysts, the 2024 deadline is likely to be changed for a later landing date under the Biden administration.
Biden Has Plan for Space and Science
However, the Democratic Presidential candidate clearly has plans to spend more on science. Recently Biden said, "We used to invest a little over 2.6 percent of our GDP in research and science. It's now down to 0.6 percent."
As per Biden's proposals, the $300 billion push in new R&D spending will power home-grown industries that can lead the world and create jobs in advanced materials, health and medicine, biotechnology, aerospace, artificial intelligence, clean energy, autos, telecommunications, and more. But the proposal doesn't directly mention NASA. As per Casey Dreier, the senior space policy adviser at the Planetary Society, "I hope is an oversight, but a surprising one nonetheless".
Dreier also explained that NASA is not just doing human spaceflight, as it is also involved in astronomy, planetary science, astrobiology, and earth science. It was a "surprising lack of mention of NASA in that context" which suggests how the campaign "sees NASA compared to the National Science Foundation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the Department of Energy".
However, it is still not clear whether NASA's plans for exploring the moon and Mars would be affected under the Biden-Harris administration. But NASA should compete with other research and development priorities if Biden is elected as president of the US after the November 3 election.