U.S. President #Donald Trump has signed a new bill—named NASA Transition Authorization Act—which sets a goal for the American space agency to send manned missions to the #Red Planet by 2033.

NASA Transition Authorization Act

NASA Transition Authorization Act authorizes a $19.5 billion budget for NASA for the fiscal year 2018 and asks the agency to chalk out a plan for sending a manned mission to Mars. The bill, which supports the use of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2024, is the first such authorization bill for NASA in the last seven years. The new legislation means NASA won’t need to worry about the budget cuts as faced by several other scientific agencies that may lose a big fraction of their budget under new proposals from the White House.

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Trump signed the Bill in his Oval Office at the White House. Several astronauts, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas were present when Trump signed the Bill. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had both sponsored the Bill.

Trump said, the Bill supports NASA’s deep space exploration and reaffirms country’s “commitment to the core mission of NASA.” He said the Bill would ensure that NASA’s most important programs continue without any hitch.

“It advances space science by maintaining a balanced set of mission and activities to explore our solar system and the entire universe,” the President said.

Trump also stated that the Bill would create new jobs in the country, would be a boon for NASA, and would help the USA sustain its position as the world leader in aviation and space technology.

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Trump also posted a tweet saying he feels honored to support NASA’s “pursuit of discovery.”

In a statement, Senator Marco Rubio said the law would support NASA’s #space launch system and Orion programs and promote cooperation between NASA and commercial space sector.

NASA’s plan for manned missions to Mars

NASA has said it wants to send manned missions to the Red Planet by 2030s. The agency has laid out its plan in a report, which provides details of the milestones that NASA would need to achieve over the next few years if it wants to land an astronaut on Mars.

NASA will be testing its Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft in the near term. The agency is working to send a probe to an asteroid and bring a sample to Earth. A manned mission could later be sent to the asteroid to test the tools needed for a Mars mission.