Thursday March 09, 2017

Congress Passes Bill Pushing NASA to Send Humans to Mars by 2033

Get your ass to Mars. Get your ass to Mars. Not that the agency has ever truly failed to impress, but these seem to be particularly exciting times for NASA, which is being encouraged to tap into its full potential and go further than they could before. While it still needs to be signed off by the big guy, we may actually be setting down on the red planet around 15 years from now. In other news, it has been confirmed that potatoes can grow on Mars, but Matt Damon already told me that.

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The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 is a bill the Senate and House collaborated on for months, and it appropriates $19.508 billion to the space agency. (NASA received $19.3 billion in 2016, or 0.5% of the total federal budget.) When the Senate brought the bill before the House of Representatives for a vote on March 7, "no members spoke against the bill" and it passed, according to Jeff Foust at Space News. The document asks NASA to create a roadmap for getting humans "near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s." It also calls on the space agency to continue developing the Space Launch System (SLS) آ— a behemoth rocket آ— and the Orion space capsule in order to eventually go to the moon, Mars, and beyond.