~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
Trump signs NASA bill aimed at sending people to Mars
President Trump just signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion dollars in funding for NASA — the first such authorization bill for the space agency in seven years.
The bill more or less aligns with the budget blueprint Trump laid out last week. NASA won't face the same cuts as other science and medical agencies, which stand to lose huge portions of their budget under the president's proposal. Sending humans to Mars by the 2030s remains NASA's long-term goal, and Congress will continue to fund the construction of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule for that mission.
“I think it's really more of a vote for stability,” said Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. He noted that the passage of the last NASA authorization bill in 2010 was fairly chaotic, since it involved ending the Constellation program that would have sent astronauts to the moon.
This year's bill left NASA's Earth science budget untouched — for now. Earth science would see a 5 percent cut in the president's blueprint, and Trump made clear Tuesday that he thinks NASA should be focused on deep space, not Earth.
“It's been a long time since a bill like this has been signed reaffirming our national commitment to the core mission of NASA, human space exploration, space science and technology,” he said. Later he added, “We support jobs. It's about jobs.”
The bill, which was passed with bipartisan support, can be read in full here. Here are highlights from the bill signing:
Astronauts will get health care for life
The TREAT Astronauts Act included in the bill will finally mandate that NASA pay for monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of any health problems related to spaceflight for all former astronauts. The space agency has long monitored its astronauts for health problems after their time in space was over — that's how we know about visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome, eye damage caused by microgravity. But NASA couldn't treat any problems that were found; it could only refer astronauts back to their primary-care doctors. In 2010, then-administrator Charles Bolden asked Congress to guarantee lifetime benefits for astronauts. He was opposed by the union that represents many NASA civil servants, according to the Wall Street Journal, because his proposal benefited only a small group of people.
Now, NASA's retired astronauts will receive lifetime health care for all space flight-related issues. This is good news not just for astronauts, but for scientists studying the health effects of space travel — something that NASA will need to consider as it prepares to send humans on a seven-month journey to Mars.
Trump will relaunch the National Space Council
Vice President Pence said at the bill signing that he will be heading a revamped National Space Council, an advisory board that serves as a go-between for NASA and the White House that hasn't operated since George H.W. Bush was president. It's not clear yet when the council will be established, or how it might promote the president's space policy.
Pace, who served on the space council under Bush, said that the council helps address issues that cut across multiple federal agencies; for example, questions about cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) that would involve both NASA and the State Department.
The Asteroid Redirect Mission is definitely dead
The authorization bill directs NASA to keep its sights on a human mission to Mars in 2033 (though it doesn't specify whether that would be a landing or just a visit to Mars orbit). But Congress wants the space agency to come up with an alternative to the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which was supposed to send humans to lunar orbit as a steppingstone toward the Red Planet. NASA doesn't need to be told twice — after the blueprint budget included no funding for ARM, acting administrator Robert Lightfoot announced that NASA will no longer pursue that mission.
But that means NASA is looking for other “intermediate” stops on the path from Earth to Mars. Will the moon be one of them? At the president's request, NASA is currently studying the feasibility of adding astronauts to the first test flight of the SLS rocket, which is slated to fly around the moon next year.
Trump also referenced the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 on Tuesday.
“It was a big moment in our history,” he said. “Now, this nation is ready to be the first in space once again.”
NASA could soon be chartering commercial flights to the ISS
The authorization bill mandates that NASA can't acquire space flight services from a foreign entity unless there are no NASA vehicles or U.S. commercial providers available. It also directs the space agency to look into ways to boost the private space industry.
Trump is not personally interested in a trip to space (though he's willing to send Congress)
During the bill signing, Trump turned to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to comment on the difficulty of being an astronaut.
“I don't know Ted, would you like to do it?” he asked. “I don't think I would.”
Cruz shook his head, so Trump looked at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“Marco, do you want to do it?”
Rubio also declined. Both senators are co-sponsors of the bill, and their states are home to two major NASA centers: Johnson Space Center in Houston and Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
“You could send Congress to space,” Cruz suggested, apparently disregarding the fact that he's a member of Congress.
“We could,” Trump said. “What a great idea that could be.”
Suggested Crew: Barack and Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi , Chucky Shumer, and Harry Reid.
This should also be a one way trip. Let them colonize Mars!
LMBO you know I am a nut! :)
That sums them up just fine Robin! Hehehe.....
I have to do things to make myself laugh daily, Kwic. If I don't I will lose my mind. Haha! I'm a happy person and I love to laugh until I can't breathe. Snort even. :) So much the last 8 years have driven me insane. Can't believe the things we have lived, witnessed and it isn't over by a long shot.
Laughter is really good medicine. Hopefully, this short jokes will give you a few good laughs.;-)
Q: What do you get when you offer a Liberal a penny for his thoughts?
Q: How do you confuse a Liberal?
A: You don't. They're born that way.
Q: Why is it good to have a Democrat passenger?
A: You can park in the handicap zone.
Q: What's the difference between Elvis and a smart Liberal?
A: Elvis has been sighted.
A Democrat died and a friend went around collecting for a fund for his funeral. A woman was asked to donate ten dollars.
"Ten dollars?" she said. "It only takes ten dollars to bury a Democrat? Here's a hundred - go bury 10 of them!"
Q: How do you keep a Democrat busy?
A: Write 'Please turn over' on both sides of a piece of paper.
Q: How do you keep a Liberal busy all day?
A: Put him in a round room and tell him to wait in the corner.
Q: What do you call a Democrat with an IQ of 130?
A: A foursome
Q: How do you get a one-armed Liberal out of a tree?
A: Wave to him.
Q: What do you call a basement full of Liberals?
A: A whine cellar.
Q: What is the definition of gross ignorance?
A: 144 Democrats.
Q: What is foreplay for a Democrat?
A: Thirty minutes of begging.
Q: What is the Democrat doing when he holds his hands tightly over his ears?
A: Trying to hold on to a thought.
Q: Why did the Liberal have blisters on his lips?
A: From trying to blow out lightbulbs.
Q: Why do Liberals work seven days a week?
A: So you don't have to retrain them on Monday.
A Democrat found a magic genie's lamp and rubbed it. The genie said, "I will grant you one wish." He said, "I wish I were smarter". So the genie made him a Republican.
Q: What the difference between a Democrat and the rear end of a horse?
A: I don't know either.
Q: How is a Liberal different from a sewer rat?
A: Some people actually like sewer rats.
Q: How many Democrats does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They prefer to walk in the dark.
Q: Why do so many Liberals live in L.A.?
A: It’s the only city that is easy enough for them to spell.
Q: What's five miles long and has an IQ of forty?
A: A Democrat parade.
Q: What is it called when a Liberal blows in another Liberal’s ear?
A: Data transfer.
Some pretty good ones, Kwic! Made me laugh and I needed it. Thank you for that.
Thanks quic. Waiting in the corner in a round room also seems appropriate for Republican LEADERSHIP. I wonder if the Peter Principle applies to Republicans more than the subversive "other side"? We have all seen good people go bad when overwhelmed with what THEY have promised to do.
I propose that Liberal snowflakes get the first one way ride. They're serving absolutely no purpose down here.
My suggestion about the first to Mars was so that when we ship the Liberals and Snowflakes there they can have a government on Mars that they'll "Love".
Hehe, as long we don't get stuck with the bills!