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Space & Astronomy

Trump signs new bill to send humans to Mars

By T.K. Randall
March 22, 2017 · Comment icon 12 comments

Could we see humans visiting Mars by the 2030s ? Image Credit: NASA / Pat Rawlings
$19.5 billion has been authorized to support a renewed commitment to NASA's manned space program.
Known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, the new bill is set to herald in a new era of space missions and research with a strong emphasis on manned spaceflight.

The upcoming Orion capsule and Space Launch System have received particularly strong support, with a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s being one of the items at the top of the agenda.

The previously planned asteroid redirection mission, which aimed to bring an asteroid in to a closer orbit and then send a crew to visit it, has now been officially scrapped.
A flight to the Moon as early as next year however is now on the agenda as a possible alternative.

"It's been a long time since a bill like this has been signed reaffirming our national commitment to the core mission of NASA, human space exploration, space science and technology," said Trump.

The bill also supports plans for a new car-sized rover on Mars by 2020, a mission to look for life on Jupiter's moon Europa and efforts to locate exoplants using the James Webb Space Telescope.

Former astronauts are now also set to receive health care for life for spaceflight-related ailments.

Source: Washington Post | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by geraldnewfie 7 years ago
lets hope that money isnt wasted and nobody gets sent to mars, we all know how gov agencies work, extra cost here, extra cost there
Comment icon #4 Posted by Troublehalf 7 years ago
Does this mean we'll be sending a probe to Europa to check for any potential alien life? I heard somewhere 2038 was the earliest, but that got pushed back I'm sure. We need to confirm water is there, obviously, then send a probe to drill down to any potential liquid water. Perhaps trying other places like Ceres? I mean, we say that water is a key ingredient for life, but we don't go checking on potential water locations in our solar system. Yeah, I get it, very very unlikely to be intelligent, but even microbial would be history making. I hope so.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
The official name of the $2 billion dollar mission is Europa Clipper and is scheduled to launch in the 2020's.  It will do multiple flybys of the moon to gather knowledge for the best way to develop and send a lander.   As far as water on Europa that is a given out what is the best way to land on and explore that moon?  We meed a LOT more data before sending a lander.   2030's may be the time frame for a lander but you''ll get a much better look at Europa in the next decade and it should be awe inspiring.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
True, but there is also this potential mission: Europa Lander Concept which is what I think Troublehalf is referring to.
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
I'm glad NASA has a "Get to MARS by" date.  Pres. Kennedy did the same thing about the Moon and NASA made it happen.   Europa is good news as well.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
I missed that one, thanks waspie.   I hope they find a way to send a lander along.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Troublehalf 7 years ago
Yup. The flyby mission was great news in itself, but it was the potential lander that Waspie_Dwarf kindly linked for me (us) that had be excited. The dates I mentioned were based on the creation of drilling tools and submersibles being available alongside detailed information on potential landing sites (if any at all) on top of the 'worth' of doing it (obviously before the larger NASA budget, they had to count the pennies on could it be justified in the public interest etc) but hopefully this can all be sped up by the (potential) more money. I hope so. I could die a happy man with confirmation... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
I just hope the money is really there and not just stolen from some other program that's needed.  The U.S. Government has been robbing Peter to pay Paul too much in recent history.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
I don't think any more funding has been awarded beyond what was proposed but what this does do is guarantee NASA that money so they can plan ahead.  For the last 8 years, save the last, the US has operated without a budget and has used continuing resolutions to fund the fiscal year.  This made budget keeping very difficult and so getting guaranteed funding, no matter what happens in the upcoming budget, is a big deal to a department.  It is good news for NASA and shows the administration is in full support our space program.  
Comment icon #12 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
kudos to Trump, another good reason to be in power. 

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