OK, so President Trump didn’t actually tell NASA, “Get your *** to Mars.” That was Douglas Quaid talking to Douglas Quaid in the 1990 Total Recall, but I digress.
Donald Trump has indeed signed a bill increasing NASA’s budget to $19.5 billion so that they may focus on human exploration of deep space and send astronauts to Mars. In fact, he hopes the first human feet treat on the red planet before 2033.
SpaceX, the space-travel-tech company launched by Elon Musk, has already been working alongside NASA to identify potential landing sites on Mars.
When news of the new funding first hit the interwaves, Recode co-founder Kara Swisher tweeted, “Somewhere @ElonMusk is smiling.”
Unfortunately, Musk was not smiling. “This bill changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing,” Musk complained on Twitter. “Existing programs stay in place and there is no added funding for Mars. Perhaps there will be some future bill that makes a difference for Mars, but this is not it.”
Others were not so negative though.
“It is the first time in seven years we’ve had a NASA authorization bill,” Senator Ted Cruz noted. Then he quipped, “We could send Congress to space.”
“We could,” Trump joked. “What a great idea that could be!”
During the signing in the Oval Office, lawmakers and NASA representatives discussed the organization’s goals and vision.
“This means a great deal for the nation’s space exploration,” said Ted Cruz, “and it means a great deal for the state of Texas as it continues America’s leadership in space.”
The President also expressed great pride in the bill and its investment in science.
“It’s been a long time since a bill like this has been signed,” he said, “reaffirming our national commitment to the core mission of NASA, human space exploration, space science and technology. With this legislation, we support NASA’s scientists, engineers and astronauts and their pursuit of discovery.”
The planet Mars is named after the ancient Roman god of war. The red planet orbits about 142 million miles from the sun. That’s 50% farther from the sun than the Earth. On Mars, one day is about 24.6 hours, and its years about 687 Earth days.
News about the signed bill comes just a day after NASA’s Curiosity Rover lamented on Twitter, “After 4.5+ off-road years on Mars, my wheel treads show 1st breaks. No prob—lots of wear left.”
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) March 21, 2017