By Ledyard King
Key elements of NASA’s space program faced tough scrutiny from Republicans even before the Nov. 4 elections gave the GOP control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House.
So when the next Congress convenes in January, the Obama administration can expect more questions — and criticisms — targeting some of the agency’s top priorities, including:
- A controversial mission to corral an asteroid into orbit around the moon and use it as a stepping-stone for a mission to Mars. The mission also would give NASA scientists insight on how to deflect asteroids headed to Earth.
- Funding for the Commercial Crew Program that aims to replace the space shuttle with rockets developed by private aerospace companies.
- The agency’s research into Earth’s changing climate.
The biggest threat to NASA’s ambitions is a lack of money, said Scott Pace, who directs the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.
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