If you’re excited about the prospect of living beyond the surface of the Earth and spending your days on the Moon or Mars, then you’ll be pleased with the legislation recently proposed by California Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2015 would make long-term space settlement a new national goal and direct NASA to really make it happen.
A Permanent Human Presence Beyond Earth
Meant to amend the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which established NASA in 1958, the current draft of Rohrabacher’s bill would require NASA to produce a report every two years that details “the progress made toward expanding permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit”. NASA would also be required to develop reporting metrics to denote progress.
Try, Try Again
There has been past legislation that has attempted to make space settlement and related reporting a focus for NASA, as specified in provision in the NASA Authorization Act of 1989, introduced by the late Rep. George Brown of California.
That proposed bill did not seek to amend the Space Act as Congressman Rohrabacher’s draft does, nor did NASA ended up complying with the report requirements of the 1989 provision.
Will the 2015 legislation make greater progress? There appears to be plenty of support from the space community, shown in the Alliance for Space Development’s urging its members to contact their reps and encourage that they co-sponsor Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s legislation.
Getting Capitol Hill On Board
Despite the lasting enthusiasm for the idea, there is always the issue of funding. Cost estimates have been scattered, especially considering the how long term an endeavor a space settlement would be, however, engraining a this effort into ongoing legislation is likely to be the only way to make the dream of settlement a reality.
Will Capitol Hill be convinced?
Tell us what you think in the comments.