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(Washington, DC) photo credit: NASA

On March 21, 2017, President Trump on Tuesday signed a bill authorizing funding for NASA while setting a new goal to send humans to Mars. The president signed the bill in the Oval Office flanked by authors and sponsors of the bill, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio(R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL). The law, PL 115-10, known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act, gives the space agency $19.5 billion in funding for fiscal year 2018. It also asks the agency to create a plan to send a “crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s.”Lawmakers also require NASA to create ways to "extend human presence, including potential human habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st Century.NASA is receiving slightly more money than Trump requested in his 2018 budget blueprint. It included $19.1 billion for the agency, which would have been a modest funding cut. Also in the bill are several refernces to the International Space Station as a platform for discovery-based space life and phuysical science research. The bill also request NASA to develop an initial  ISS Transition plan in coordination with CASIS, the scientific user community and the commercial space sector. Click here for full text of Public Law 115-10