Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has launched a barrage of tweets warning that science and health budget cuts will make America “sick,” “weak,” and “stupid.”
In a blueprint of his 2018 budget requests, President Donald Trump proposed $54 billion in cuts to significant sections of the federal government as well as popular science and education programs.
The proposed budget, for instance, is not exactly good news for a number of planned and existing NASA missions, including earth sciences and the NASA Office of Education.
“The fastest way to Make America Weak Again: Cut science funds to our agencies that support it,” deGrasse Tyson wrote on his Twitter account March 20.
The fastest way to build a “sick” country, he added, is to “cut funding to the National Institutes of Health,” while the fastest way to “Make America Stupid” is to cut funds to programs supporting education.
“The fastest way to thwart Earth’s life-support systems for us all: Turn EPA into EDA – the Environmental Destruction Agency,” the scientists tweeted to his 7.03 million followers, adding that humans can easily melt glaciers and flood Earth’s coastal areas through ignoring scientists and doing nothing to stop carbon emission rise.
The famed astronomer can be remembered for his controversial pronouncements, such as last year when he proposed that the entire universe we see around us may be nothing more than a simulation.
While the messages do not explicitly point to Trump or the proposed 2018 budget, the tweets follow deGrasse Tyson’s promise to refrain from making public criticisms until certain policy proposals have been revealed.
The areas that his tweets touched on are some of those seeing severe funding cuts for 2018, such as education facing a looming 13.5 percent decrease and health and human services with a likely 16.2 percent drop. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), too, is on track to over 31 percent reduction in proposed funding.
Feeling The Heat
Trump’s proposed budget does not bode well for a number of NASA initiatives, with the space agency itself receiving a slightly lower budget of $19.1 billion, from $19.285 billion in fiscal year 2016.
The biggest chunk of NASA funding would be reserved for the human exploration division, including the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System jumbo rocket poised for Mars. On the chopping board, meanwhile, are the ARM program for flying a robotic space vehicle to a near-Earth object, the earth sciences program, and NASA’s entire education office.
The proposal offers no budget for the Europa lander mission that will explore the Jupiter moon, while it contains “restructures” for satellite servicing initiative RESTORE-L, considered “duplicative” and in need of cuts.
In the area of health, NIH’s funding is bound to suffer a $5.8 billion drop or nearly 20 percent in cuts.
As one of the world’s primary research centers tasked to make important discoveries in health, the NIH allocates about 80 percent of its budget to universities and medical centers. The budget cut is seen to affect not only graduate, but also undergraduate programs, as well as lead to the reorganization of many of its study centers.
The blueprint further shows that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will receive a 50 percent cut. In early March, Tech Times reported how planned cuts to the climate science agency can put lives at risk.