This artist’s illustration depicts a ‘Plymouth Rock’ asteroid mission with astronauts and NASA’s Orion spacecraft as envisioned by Lockheed Martin. CREDIT: Lockheed Martin

Space Exploration Still US Priority, NASA Says

by Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Date: 12 February 2013 Time: 07:00 AM ET

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Though NASA’s share of the federal budget has dropped dramatically since the space-race heyday of the 1960s, the United States still regards space exploration as a key priority, NASA’s deputy chief says.

The agency’s allotted $17.7 billion budget represents less than 0.5 percent of federal spending for 2013. That’s a nearly tenfold drop from the agency’s peak share back in the mid-1960s, when the United States was racing to put an astronaut on the moon before the Soviet Union.

But $17.7 billion is far from chump change, especially considering how much other nations spend on their space programs, said NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver.

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