President Donald Trump signed a bill on Tuesday securing funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with the aim of sending a crew to Mars within 20 years.
Bill S.442, named the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017, was co-sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), provides NASA with $19.5 billion worth of funding for the 2018 fiscal year, with the aim of sending a “crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s.”
The bill also urges NASA to “extend human presence, including potential human habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st Century.”
The level of funding is above what Trump outlined in his first White House budget, which called for $19.1 billion investment in NASA programs. It is the first NASA authorization bill to be signed in seven years.
On signing the bill, Trump remarked that “America’s space program has been a blessing to our people and to the entire world.”
“Almost half a century ago our brave astronauts also planted our American flag on the moon. Now, this nation is ready to be the first in space once again. Today we are taking the initial steps toward a bold and bright new future for space exploration,” he continued.
Trump also praised the new high paying jobs the bill will create, as part of his plan to radically reduce unemployment.