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Appropriations Bill Sends NASA Back To The Moon

Earth-rise on the lunar surface. Photo: NASA
Earth-rise on the lunar surface. Photo: NASA

The plan to send humans to Mars may have a lunar detour – that’s if a House appropriation committee bill makes it through Congress. The plan was to test NASA’s crew capsule bound for Mars by sending it to an asteroid first.

The appropriations committee cut all funding for robotic and manned missions to an asteroid in the latest 2017 fiscal budget proposal. Instead, they suggest NASA develop plans to return to the moon. There, they can test capabilities to send humans to Mars – like building habitats.

The bill also requires NASA to use its next-generation rocket, SLS, to send a space craft to Jupiter's moon Europa. And it sets aside $1.3 billion for the development of the Orion Crew capsule for next year.

The bill has several stops in Congress before the funding makes it to the final budget.

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.

Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.