Cornyn, Culberson Introduce Bill to Require Mars Mission and NASA Human Exploration Strategy

In: All News   Posted 01/24/2017

Directs Agency to Prioritize Missions and Destinations, Develop Long-Range Plan for Future of U.S. Human Spaceflight

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative John Culberson (TX-07) today introduced a bill to require the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop plans for the future of U.S. human space exploration, with the goal of landing an astronaut on Mars.  The Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy (MANIFEST) for Human Spaceflight Act is based on the recommendations of a 2014 National Academies report.

“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,” said Sen. Cornyn.  “This bill reaffirms our nation’s longstanding commitment to advancing science and exploring the expansive universe around us.”

“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,” Rep. Culberson said. “It also focuses NASA’s long-term plans so that America’s leadership in space remains unchallenged.”

More information on the MANIFEST for Human Spaceflight Act:

  • The legislation would require NASA to regularly provide Congress a human exploration strategy outlining goals and destinations for future manned space missions.
  • To ensure the agency considers independent views, NASA is directed to partner with the National Academy of Sciences to provide input and further recommendations that would be included in the final strategy.
  • The exploration strategy would be updated every five years, consistent with an independent review cycle applied to other NASA programs. 
  • For the first time, the bill would amend NASA’s guiding exploration goals to specifically designate a human presence on the surface of Mars as the long-term goal, a position supported by the Spaceflight Committee’s report as well as the broader space exploration community. 
  • The legislation is based on the recommendations of a 2014 report from the National Academies’ Committee on Human Spaceflight.