U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), John Culberson (R-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday directing NASA to develop a plan for returning to the Moon and establishing a human presence there. The RE-asserting American Leadership in Space Act, or REAL Space Act, sets a clear course for NASA toward human space flight while keeping within current budgetary constraints.
"Congress should be committed to NASA and to expanding the frontiers of scientific progress. This bill is the correct path forward to get Americans to Mars and expand human knowledge," said Stockman.
"The moon is where we will learn how to live on Mars. In the event of an emergency, the moon is just three days to home, and a human Mars landing without prior experience living on the moon would likely not succeed.
"With a real destination and a realistic timetable, we can achieve our greatest dreams. Without, we risk seeing our future plans perpetually delayed or cancelled, and only watching as other nations seize the lead in space exploration--and reap the benefits in jobs, inventions, investments, national pride and international respect.
"I urge space advocates and organizations to join together in support of this bill and in support of the moon being the stepping stone to Mars.
"An aimless NASA will never succeed in leading the way to the stars. A real destination will inspire our youth to make the sciences a career as did the Apollo program, and the world will once again watch in awe as we make history."