Is there life on Mars? There may well be by the 2030s after a bill giving NASA $20 billion for further exploration of the red planet was given the green light by Congress.
The bill, which will send $19.508billion to NASA, has been approved by both the Senate and the House and is now just waiting for Trump to give it his Presidential seal of approval, Space News reports.
The ambitious budget includes plans for humans to be “near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s,” meaning in under two decades the US is hoping to have conquered another planet.
The wording of the bill, according to Gizmodo, states that, “a human exploration roadmap should begin with low-Earth orbit, then address in greater detail progress beyond low-Earth orbit to cis-lunar space, and then address future missions aimed at human arrival and activities near and then on the surface of Mars.”
Mars isn’t the only planet in the Solar System on NASA’s hit list. There’s also a plan to send a probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa.
This appears to be all part of their wider objective of expanding “permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit”.
They also want to establish “a thriving space economy in the 21st Century.”
It’s not completely clear what this would consist of – a Trump Tower on the moon?
It’s the first time a NASA authorization bill has been passed by both houses in over six year, the last being in 2010, but it’s comforting to know Congress is looking for an alternative for earth.
The ambitious plans were approved six months after the Schiaparelli Mars Lander touched down on the red planet in October 2016.
The mission, run by NASA’s rivals the European Space Agency, saw a probe land on the planet in a bid to search for signs of life.