Congress wants NASA to have a mission to Mars by increasing the agency’s budget by adding $1.3 billion next year in order to build a space habitat on Mars for future astronauts.
According to Popular Science, Congress has directed NASA to use $55 million if its $19.3 billion budget to begin the habitat.
NASA has 180 days from December 18, the day it was awarded the funding, to produce a status report on the program to Congress.
Congress has given NASA until 2018 to build a livable prototype.
The agency’s biggest challenges in creating the habitat include protecting astronauts from radiation and crafting a light-weight territory.
NASA hopes to begin testing the habitat between the Earth and moon by the 2020s and to conduct crewed missions to Mars by the 2030s.