Science includes five major science areas, (1) Planetary Science,  (2) James Webb Space Telescope, (3) Astrophysics, (4) Heliophysics and (5) Earth Science. The Planetary Science Program’s lunar program would increase by 50% above its enacted FY 2020 funding to $452 million in FY 2021. The increase is primarily for commercial services to deliver lunar payloads. With $6,306.5 million requested, highlights of the FY2021 budget request for Science include: [1]

  • Planetary Science to explore the planetary bodies of our solar system. The Budget increases funding for the Lunar Discovery and Exploration program that supports innovative approaches to achieving human and science exploration goals, such as the eventual return of humans to the Moon. It also continues funding for the Europa Clipper, Mars 2020, Lucy, Psyche, Dragonfly, and DART missions, as well as the VIPER lunar mission and a Mars Sample Return mission, which will launch as early as FY 2026 and bring samples collected by Mars 2020 to Earth ($2,659.6 2 million).
  • Astrophysics to study the universe and search for Earth-like planets. The Budget keeps on track the IXPE and GUSTO missions and the SPHEREx mission. The Budget provides no funding for WFIRST, as NASA focuses on the launch and deployment of the Webb Telescope($831.0 million).
  • The James Webb Space Telescope was scheduled to launch in March 2021 but will be delayed($414.7 million).
  • The Heliophysics IMAP mission also remains on track for a 2024 launch.  The budget includes support for two new Explorer SMEX missions, pre-Phase A studies for the Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission, as well as the DRIVE initiative and interagency efforts to improve space weather predictive capabilities($633.1 million).
  • $1,768.1 million for Earth Science,  funds over 10,000 U.S. scientists in universities, industry, and government labs through over 3,000 openly competed research awards and supports approximately 100 space missions. [2]

Updated October 2020, by Kevine Lidoro