Confirmed! Trump Signs NASA Transition Authorization Act to Send Humans to Mars
U.S. President Donald Trump has just signed a new bill funding NASA's mission to bring humans to the Red Planet.
According to The Hill, the bill, called the NASA Transition Authorization Act, will grant NASA $19.5 billion in funding. Authors and sponsors of the bill include senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. The funding is a few hundred million dollars more than what Trump originally requested in his 2018 budget. The original funding for NASA was only $19.1 billion.
The bill will officially fund NASA beginning 2018. It will require the space agency to create a feasible plan of sending a manned mission to Mars in 2030.
Interestingly, the NASA Transition Authorization Act expands other aspects of Martian colonization. The bill requires NASA to find ways to "extend human presence" in celestial bodies such as Mars, including finding ways for human habitation in the planet.
According to Washington Post, this means NASA will not experience budget cuts that other science and medical agencies and organizations are about to see with Trump's latest budget proposal.
Scott Page, director of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute, noted that this is a much orderly version of the NASA Authorization Bill last 2010. He noted that the 2010 bill was "chaotic" as it disassembled the constellation program back then. NASA was planning to use this program to have manned missions to the moon.
The bill also relaunches the National Space Council. This is the advisory board that serves as the bridge between NASA and the White House. The Council has not been operational since former president George H. W. Bush's term. Current Vice President Pence will be heading the revamped National Space Council.
Moreover, the NASA Transition Authorization Act also includes the TREAT Astronauts Act. This will mandate NASA's responsibility to pay for the monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of health problems of all related astronauts.
NASA has already monitored all of their astronauts for known health problems even after their time in space. This has led to the discovery of space-related illnesses and problems such as visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome or eye damage caused from microgravity.
Unfortunately, NASA could not treat for healthcare requirements of their astronauts back then. Then-NASA administrator Charles Bolden requested for such a mandate back in 2010 but was opposed.