NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, at left, discusses the plan to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 as three of his associate administrators — William Gerstenmaier, Jim Reuter and Thomas Zurbuchen — look on during a town hall at NASA headquarters. (NASA Photo / Joel Kowsky)
Will NASA’s plan to land astronauts on the moon by 2024 fly with Congress? The Artemis program’s implications are still sinking in on Capitol Hill, but there’s already a political problem having to do with where the money’s supposed to come from.
Trump administration officials confirmed that the $1.6 billion being sought as a “down payment” for accelerating the push to the moon would be taken from a roughly $8 billion reserve account for the popular Pell Grant program, which funds education for millions of low-income students annually.
Due to the economy’s rebound from the 2008-2009 Great Recession, the number of Pell Grant recipients has been declining in recent years, leading to a buildup in reserves. Because of that, reallocating money from the reserves would not affect current grant recipients, who will be receiving up to $6,195 for the 2019-2020 academic year..
“This does not cut any spending for Pell Grant programs as the ...