Last month, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law giving NASA $19.5 billion to spend on a variety of projects in the 2018 budget year, including planning further exploration of the planet Mars.
From the Oval Office, the president said: For almost six decades, NASA’s work has inspired millions and millions of Americans to imagine distant worlds and a better future right here on Earth. I’m delighted to sign this bill. 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.
But while NASA’s budget will aid the agency’s long-term plans for a manned exploration of Mars, it also halts the space agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, Scientific American reported last month. That project would have included a robotic attempt to rendezvous with an asteroid, then collect and haul a giant boulder from it for future study by a manned crew. Part of this plan was also to redirect the asteroid’s trajectory away from any path that would bring it close to Earth.