Congress just gave NASA $19.5 billion to spend for the 2017 fiscal year. The authorization bill, which still needs to be signed by President Trump to go into effect, is laden with language meant to direct the agency towards an ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars. To that end, it throws some shade against what’s been a pain point for any Congresspeople — the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).
The goal of ARM is to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid, pick up a small boulder from the surface, drive it back to the moon, and drop the boulder into lunar orbit. NASA has done an insanely poor job explaining why ARM is a good idea, and the resulting communication breakdown has caused many people in Congress to be highly skeptical about ARM
Meet Ron Ticker, NASA Headquarters Deputy Program Director, Asteroid Redirect Mission in Luxembourg on May 10th!