ScienceInsider's Budget Roundup

ScienceInsider went all over town last week to hear federal agency officials present the details of President Barack Obama's 2010 budget request to Congress. Here is a sampling of what we learned.

At NASA, the earth sciences program was the favored child within space science, adding to its $325 million haul from the recent stimulus package. The budget offers little help for other heavily mortgaged science programs. However, the president threw a wild card into the NASA deck by announcing a review of the Bush Administration's plans for human exploration of the moon and Mars.

The intramural labs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology fared well, as did external industrial support programs such as the Technology Innovation Program, a perennial target for the Bush Administration. Look for a boost in efforts to build a smart grid, advance solar energy, and revamp information technology in health care.

Problems with the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal program, which was started in 2004 to screen cargo at land and sea borders for signatures of nuclear material, have led to a proposed elimination of acquisition funds for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office within the Department of Homeland Security. Administration officials say they plan to use stimulus money to buy the detectors if and when they are proven to be effective.

While most institutes and the director's Common Fund would receive tiny raises, cancer research at the National Institutes of Health would take off on an 8-year doubling path. "It's a presidential priority," explained acting NIH Director Raynard Kington. "I don't think it's inconsistent with the broad mission of the agency in any way." Another Obama campaign pledge would boost autism research by 16%, to $141 million. Reversing a Bush policy, the president's budget also requests funding, totaling $194 million, for the longitudinal National Children's Study.

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