President Obama signed a major NASA act today (Oct. 11) that turns his vision for U.S. space exploration of asteroids and Mars into law.
The signing makes official a NASA authorization act that scraps the space agency’s previous moon-oriented goal and paves the way for a manned mission to an asteroid by 2025. A manned mission to Mars is envisioned for some time in the 2030s.
The bill also calls for a budget of $19 billion for NASA in 2011, adding one extra space shuttle flight before the fleet retires next year, and the extension of the International Space Station through at least 2020. [Poll: Weigh in on NASA’s New Direction]