GREENBELT — With the federal government continuing to look for ways to reduce the growing deficit, members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation took part in a town hall meeting Tuesday at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to assure the workers they will continue to look out for their best interests.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-4th), and Rep.Steny Hoyer (D-5th) said they will attempt to spare space science and exploration.
They also touted their accomplishments in the most recent federal budget, where they secured $530 million for the continuing construction of the James Webb telescope. “We put money into the federal budget for there to be a James Webb telescope, so that America will be the preeminent country in space science,” Mikulski said.
After the congressional debt super committee’s failure to reach a deal last week, Hoyer warned that cuts may be on the horizon. “Without disciplined, courageous, and dedicated work to get a handle on our deficit, we will not have the incredibly important resources to continue to invest in the future,” he said. All three members of Congress pledged to do their best to continue to steer money towards NASA.
NASA scientists say they aren’t sure what to expect. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know the future. It’s tremendously important for the country to balance the budget a little better, and also to do it in a way that doesn’t wreck what we are,” said John Mather, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006.
NASA also sent an unmanned spacecraft to Mars on Nov. 26 to search for life and to help prepare for eventual human trips to the red planet. Mather believes that will lead to further jobs at NASA. “Doing these projects is money spent on the ground with real people here on earth. And so yes, it’s jobs at NASA,” he said.