NASA Administrator Bill Nelson spoke at a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing about space-related matters.
The hearing addressed the $26 billion budget request by U.S. President Biden to be allocated to NASA for the 2023 fiscal year, more than has ever been allocated to NASA. During the hearing, Nelson said he believes NASA is "in a space race with China" and that "they've done some impressive stuff," according to this series of tweets quoting Nelson.
However, he followed this up by saying, "yes, they are good at stealing," after citing their rover on Mars and their Tianhe space station. Nelson believes that cybersecurity needs to be taken more seriously in the government and private sector, likely to prevent their technologies from being used by others.
Nelson was asked various questions about China and other countries in assessing how NASA would allocate its budget. When asked about returning samples from Mars to Earth, he said the space race with China had driven developments in that area, mentioning the contract for the $194 million Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) awarded to Lockheed Martin. He says the MAV could land in the Utah desert depending on how development turns out.
You can read Nelson's full written statement before the committee here.
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