Damn. I was really stoked about hanging out on Mars with Leonardo DiCaprio in the near future, but now I'm worried. Is Trump gonna be there too? The former Apprentice host and star of this week's critically acclaimed House Intelligence Committee hearing signed a bill into law Tuesday authorizing $19.5 billion in spending for NASA, the Associated Press reported. The legislation also makes human exploration of Mars an agency goal.
"We would like to thank President Trump for his support of the agency in signing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017," Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA Administrator, said in a statement Tuesday. "We also want to express our gratitude to a bipartisan Congress for its thoughtful consideration of the agency's path forward. We are grateful for the longstanding support and trust of the American people, which enables our nation's space, aeronautics, science, and technology development programs to thrive."
Trump will likely try to take credit for all the ensuing Mars talk in a series of tweets soon, so let's take a peek into the past before that happens. For years, NASA has been eyeing the 2030s as a target decade for having humans hanging out on Mars. Former POTUS Barack Obama, in an op-ed published by CNN last October, revived that call by explaining the need for "continued cooperation" between government agencies and private companies. "We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time," Obama said at the time.
At any rate, maybe Trump took a moment while signing this to ask someone around him (NOT Ted Cruz) about climate change. Probably not. But science isn't just something small-handed men can pluck from to brag about Mars. It's also something that has shown climate change to be very real indeed, and thus not a hoax perpetrated against the United States by China.
In the meantime, someone on Twitter with nothing better to do is already imagining a post-Trump Mars: