WASHINGTON – The White House is asking Congress for an additional $1.6 billion for NASA’s budget next year as the space agency attempts to return humans to the moon by 2024.
The announcement comes about six weeks after Vice President Mike Pence called for an accelerated program to return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since the last Apollo lunar landing in 1972. But since the White House issued that bold mandate, NASA has released few details about how it would achieve it or what the program would cost.
In a tweet Monday evening, PresidentDonald Trump wrote: “Under my administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”
The money would come from a surplus in Pell Grant money, a federal program used to help students pay for college, according to The Associated Press. It was unclear what the reaction in Congress would be. Democrats in the House have been particularly critical of the White House’s plan, calling it a political gambit, timed to align with the elections calendar.