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US gives Nasa $55 million funding to send humans to Mars
The Obama administration allotted $55 million to Nasa instructing them to spend the funds on a habitation augmentation module with an aim to speed up work on sending humans on deep space exploration missions, including Mars.
The funds will come from the Advanced Exploration Systems programme, part of the exploration research and development line item in the budget that received $350 million in the omnibus bill.
Nasa shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018. Nasa has bolstered the development of a habitation module that could be tested in cislunar space (lying between the Earth and the Moon or the Moon’s orbit) in 2020s. The module could then be used for human missions to Mars.
Nasa engineers have alreadly welded together the first two segments of the Orion crew module that will fly atop Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a mission beyond the far side of the Moon.
SLS is one of the most experienced large rocket engines in the world, with more than a million seconds of ground test and flight operations time. When completed, SLS will enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system.