Nelson confident in space agency's budget, mission: 'Everybody loves NASA'

NASA is planning new missions and seeking a funding boost of $1.5 billion to help make it happen.

President Biden selected former Florida senator Bill Nelson to increase our commitment to space exploration and the space agency’s observation of Earth.

Nelson is also using his experience in Washington to try to move Biden’s proposed $24.8-billion budget through Congress.

"I’m very confident. I’ve spent a lot of time with my old colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I’ve spent a lot of time with the leadership with the appropriations and the authorizing committees in the U.S. House. Most everybody loves NASA," he told FOX 13. "They want to see this continual quest for research and development."

The Biden administration’s agenda includes two probes to Venus to help determine how its environment, which started like Earth’s, turned so toxic. The administration is also planning to launch a network of new satellites to enhance observation of Earth to help us protect our environment from man-made climate change.

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Nelson also confirmed NASA is still committed to going back to the moon with plans to maintain a permanent presence. 

"We’ve got to develop all kinds of new technologies, and that’s the excitement of this program -- back to the moon and then onto Mars," he said. 

There is one change, at least in semantics. The Trump administration set the date of sending astronauts to the moon by 2024 and maintaining a permanent presence by the end of the decade. The Trump administration called it a "deadline;" Nelson calls it a "goal." 

"The goal is 2024. But space is hard," Nelson said. "And when you are developing new technologies and pressing the edge of the envelope, we have found that it sometimes causes delays because you are really doing things for the first time. And although we have been to the moon before, nevertheless there are new technologies, new spacesuits that we’re developing, but the goal is 2024."