“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the Moon by 2023 and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, in order to promote exploration, commerce, science, and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations,” the measure reads. “The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal.”
The bill, which Posey introduced on April 27, is in direct opposition to NASA’s approach, which is focused on sending astronauts to investigate a boulder that has been retrieved from an asteroid and returned to cis-lunar space.
Co-sponsors of HR 2036 include Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT).
The measure mentions a number of benefits of returning to the moon, including allowing astronauts to test out technologies for living on Mars, re-engaging public interest in the space program, and giving the commercial sector the opportunity to develop technologies for settling on and surveying the moon.
Posey and his co-sponsors also see settling the moon in strategic terms.
“China and Russia, understanding the economic and strategic importance of human space flight, have declared their intentions of colonizing the Moon and are advancing their lunar exploration plans,” the bill reads. “It is strategically important that the United States possess and maintain the capabilities of unfettered operation in the cislunar space domain, and not cede this domain to other nations.”