A new bill seeks to lock down NASA plans for a manned mission to Mars.
The recently introduced legislation has a name as lofty as its aim: The Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy for Human Spaceflight Act, or in truncated form the MANIFEST for Human Spaceflight Act.
The proposed space-exploration legislation was introduced Jan. 29 by a pair of Texas Republicans — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. John Culberson. It would require NASA to maintain a plan for human space exploration featuring an eventual manned mission to Mars.
It’s uncertain how quickly, or even if, the bill can travel through committees to full votes in the Senate and House. But at a minimum, it continues a push started immediately after the November federal elections to maintain a robust space-exploration program — and commercial spaceflight support — under the new regime in Washington.
“By requiring a strategic plan from NASA, this bill will help focus existing resources towards achieving our long-term goal of landing a human on Mars,” Cornyn said. “This bill reaffirms our nation’s longstanding commitment to advancing science and exploring the expansive universe around us.”
The legislation would require NASA to brief Congress regularly on the agency’s manned mission plans and goals.
“Americans are at their best when they’re conquering new frontiers, and this legislation ensures that NASA continues to push the boundaries of space exploration by landing an American astronaut on Mars,” Culberson said. “It also focuses NASA’s long-term plans so that America’s leadership in space remains unchallenged.”
NASA would be required to update its space-exploration strategy every five years under the proposed legislation.